Every year, 800.000 babies are born extremely preterm (<28 weeks of age) worldwide. These infants are usually transferred to an air-based neonatal intensive care unit to support their heart and lung development. Exposure to air, however, leads to many complications, because the lungs are not fully developed yet. The perinatal life support (PLS) project aims to develop a novel, alternative environment, more similar to the mother’s womb. In this PLS system, extremely premature babies would be transferred to an environment where the lungs remain filled with fluid and the umbilical cord will be attached to an artificial placenta to improve their organ development and ease the transition to newborn life. This project aims to increase the chances of survival for extremely premature babies and not to change the viability threshold.
Read more about the project here.