Extremely premature infants are those that are born at less than 28 weeks, and often weigh less than two pounds at birth. Medical advancements have pushed the limits of viability to permit survival of infants at 22-23 weeks, but these infants suffer from high rates of mortality. Those that survive are all but guaranteed chronic complications related to organ prematurity. In a bioengineering feat that can only be described as science fiction-like, scientists from Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have created an artificial placenta to support extremely premature lambs with the hope of one day improving morbidity and mortality in humans that are born premature. On this episode of Beyond the Abstract, Derek and Ellen discuss what it takes to create an artificial placenta and how this creation has the potential to offer new hope for premature infants .
Partridge et al. An extra-uterine system to physiologically support the extreme premature lamb. Nature Communications, 2017. 8:15112. PMID: 28440792.