Children's Hospital Colorado

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (S3:E20)

Each year, thousands of babies are born with neonatal abstinence syndrome and require specialized medical and psychosocial support. Primary care providers should understand the needs of these newborns and know how to support their caregivers.

Listen to a pediatric expert discuss neonatal abstinence syndrome

In this episode, we discuss the care of newborns who have been exposed to opioids. Stephen Patrick, MD, from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine joins us for this discussion.

Dr. Patrick is a neonatologist, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director at the Vanderbilt Center for Child Health Policy.

We recorded this episode live from the 2019 American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference Exhibition (NCE) in New Orleans. View Dr. Patrick's 2019 AAP NCE plenary session.

In this episode, our expert discusses:

  • How the opioid crisis in his hometown in West Virginia influenced the direction of his career
  • The physical appearance of infants with opioid withdrawal
  • The incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome and how it has changed from 2000 to 2016
  • Factors that influence the likelihood that an infant will suffer from opioid withdrawal
  • How the approach to caring for babies exposed to opioids has shifted
  • Signs and symptoms that make up the Finnegan framework
  • Why the structure of care matters more than the medication, and the role of child welfare
  • The typical course of treatment for the 20% of infants who require morphine
  • Recommendations to colleagues who practice in rural areas with limited resources
  • The advantage for each hospital to develop and adhere to a specific treatment protocol
  • Factors to consider for follow-up care
  • Research questions that Vanderbilt is currently asking
  • The consequences of the stigma surrounding pregnant women who have an opioid problem