A “Blood Pressure Monitor” is a small blood pressure cuff placed around your premature baby’s arm or leg and it is attached to a machine. The machine monitors the premature baby’s blood pressure at regular intervals by tightening the cuff to measure the pressure exerted by the blood against the vessel, vein, and artery walls. The information is then displayed on a screen on the blood pressure monitor.
The purpose of the blood pressure monitor is to make sure your premature baby’s blood pressure does not fall too low. Low blood pressure is very common in premature babies right after they are born, and can be caused by infection, blood loss, fluid loss, some medications, and sometimes reasons that are unknown. Respiratory distress has also been linked to low blood pressure in premature babies.
Low blood pressure (hypotension) does not allow the blood to circulate properly and must be treated because it can cause serious problems for your premature baby. Organs such as the heart, brain, kidneys, and etc. cannot function properly and may be permanently damaged due to the lack of oxygen and important nutrients vital to sustaining organ function. It is essential to raise your premature baby’s blood pressure immediately to return good blood flow throughout your baby’s body.
Raising your premature baby’s blood pressure can be as simple as giving your baby extra fluid by IV, but sometimes it takes a little bit more. Medications called pressors can increase your premature baby’s blood pressure. If the cause for low blood pressure is blood loss, then a blood transfusion will be performed with donor blood from a blood bank.