A Smarter Way To Monitor Tiny BrainZ

Last year, Children’s Health Foundation asked the community to support the purchase of an important piece of equipment for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre – a BrainZ monitor. In April 2018, a brand new, upgraded BrainZ monitor arrived in the NICU thanks to the generosity of the Air Canada Foundation.

We sat down with Dr. Henry Roukema to learn more about the BrainZ monitor and why it is so vital for babies in critical care.

What is a BrainZ monitor?
The BrainZ monitor tracks electrical brain wave activity in a simplified way. Done at the bedside on a continuous basis, the BrainZ monitors brain waves of high risk babies to look for abnormalities that need treatment, such as seizures.

How is the BrainZ monitor used at Children’s Hospital?
The BrainZ monitor is used in babies with suspected abnormal brain activity, such as those with low or high muscle tone, abnormal level of consciousness or suspected seizures. The monitor gives us a summary of the baby’s brain wave activity and provides us with information to guide our treatment. Having the monitor at the bedside helps us to give treatment (such as seizure medication) quickly and access real-time information about the effectiveness.

Why is the BrainZ monitor so important?
The BrainZ monitor fills a gap in the monitoring capabilities in the NICU. Without the BrainZ, the only way to monitor a baby’s brain waves was with a complicated 12 lead Electroencephalograph (EEG), which is difficult to interpret and not practical for continuous use.

We use the BrainZ monitor frequently in babies who are suspected of having seizures or who are at risk because of complications around the time of birth with blood flow and oxygen. Part of treatment for these babies is to cool their body temperature for 72 hours to protect their brains from damage. Having a BrainZ on during this process is a routine part of monitoring and optimizes treatment.

Air Canada Foundation recently provided funding for Children’s Hospital to purchase a second BrainZ monitor for the NICU. What does this mean for the patients in your team’s care?
We are very thankful to Air Canada Foundation for providing funding for a second BrainZ monitor. This is a new generation model and much more advanced than our previous model. Also, it is not uncommon for us to need to monitor more than one baby at the same time; now we will be able to.

Thank you Air Canada Foundation for your generous gift of $52,200 to purchase a BrainZ monitor and three B. Braun syringe pumps to support care in the NICU at Children’s Hospital.