Premature Infant Treatments & Technology

Leading-Edge Infant Care in Cape Girardeau

Caring for premature infants and newborns in a state-of-the-art facility, the highly trained staff in the Level III NICU at Saint Francis Medical Center provides advanced treatments and procedures, including:


Drugs used to treat a suspected or identified bacterial infection. Most common types are ampicillin, claforan and gentamicin, but many more are used in the NICU.

Central Lines

A small plastic tube that is placed in a large blood vessel near the heart to deliver intravenous fluids or medications. In some cases, it may be used for blood removal for laboratory tests. A central line can avoid many needle sticks for your baby when long-term access to a blood vessel is needed.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

Air is delivered to your baby’s lungs through either small tubes in your baby’s nose or through a tube that is inserted into the windpipe. The tubes are attached to a ventilator, which helps the lungs stay inflated but does not breathe for him or her.

Conventional Ventilator (Respirator)

A machine used to help your baby breathe. The machine is connected to your baby by a tube or nasal prongs.

Donor Breast Milk

Saint Francis is the first hospital in the region to offer pasteurized donor human breast milk. Breast milk provides the essential vitamins, protein, and fat to help the development of babies. This can be a life-saving, healthy alternative for babies whose mother’s cannot produce milk or for babies that are critically ill.

Exchange Transfusion

Special type of blood transfusion in which some of your baby’s blood is removed and replaced with blood from a donor; sometimes used to treat severe jaundice.

Feeding Team Evaluation

One of the most common and frustrating problems ill newborns have is learning how to eat. As simple as that sounds, learning how to suck, swallow and breathe simultaneously can be a huge challenge. The speech therapist in the NICU is a trained specialist who evaluates infants with feeding difficulties and may recommend strategies to overcome them.

Gavage (Tube) Feeding

Inserting a soft plastic tube passed through your baby’s nose or mouth into the stomach to provide food if your baby is too young or sick to suck or swallow. These tubes are taped in place and are used for feedings for days or weeks as needed.

High Frequency Oscillatory Ventilation

A unique type of respirator that breaths at very fast rates and with small breaths. It may be used in special circumstances for respiratory illnesses to help inflate a baby’s lungs with less pressure.


Yellow liquid given through an IV that provides sugar, protein, vitamins, minerals, fat and calories (total nutrition for your baby).

Intravenous (IV) Therapy

A small catheter placed in your baby’s vein to provide fluid or medicine. An IV may be placed in your baby’s arm, leg or scalp.

Nasal Cannula or High Flow Cannula

Soft plastic tubes that fit into or under your baby’s nose to deliver oxygen.

Nitric Oxide Therapy

Nitric oxide is a gas that may be blended with oxygen to help dilate the blood vessels in the lungs so a baby can get more oxygen to the body. It may be used when the blood pressure in the lungs is too high, preventing blood from getting to the lungs and receiving oxygen.


Blue or white fluorescent lights used to treat jaundice.

Umbilical Catheters and Percutaneous Arterial Lines

A clear, soft catheter placed into a blood vessel in your baby’s umbilical cord (belly button). It is used to feed IV fluid, draw blood and monitor blood pressure.


To learn more about the Level III NICU at Saint Francis Medical Center, call 573-331-5830.