When your baby receives the treatment, he or she will inhale nitric oxide, a type of gas that can relax and expand the blood vessels in the lungs. When the blood vessels are better able to expand, it can improve your baby’s ability to get oxygen to the brain and other important tissues.
As a breathing treatment, iNO may be used with other therapies such as traditional intubation and mechanical ventilation which do not use nitric oxide gas. If a baby does not show improvement after starting iNO treatment, the next level of treatment may include extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO).
You can expect the following during an inhaled nitric oxide treatment at Riley at IU Health:
Treatment with inhaled nitric oxide usually lasts up to two weeks. Specialized technicians and physicians will monitor your baby’s condition and vital signs around the clock throughout treatment to make sure that the iNO is working and that there are no complications.
All babies who receive iNO treatment will have full follow-up care once it is safe for them to leave the NICU. Since low oxygen at birth can be a risk factor for neurodevelopmental delays, you and your baby will follow up with a multidisciplinary care team that includes a neurodevelopmental specialist.