Dr. Jenny Rumpel, a neonatologist and researcher at Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, investigates acute kidney injury (AKI) in neonates. AKI affects at least 30% of babies admitted to the NICU. There are short- and long-term consequences from AKI, including chronic kidney disease and a four-fold increase in the chance of death.
Dr. Rumpel is focused on developing caffeine as a therapy for AKI. She is performing a pharmacokinetics study of caffeine to identify the best dosing regimen to protect the kidneys in a unique neonatal population: neonates with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) receiving whole-body cooling. Neonates with HIE have brain, kidney, and other organ injuries due to low blood flow and oxygen levels due to complications around the time of birth. She also studies urine biomarkers and renal near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to improve the early detection of AKI in babies with HIE. NIRS monitoring uses a sensor placed on the skin of the back over the kidney to monitor oxygen delivery and blood flow in real-time that will alert the physician when levels indicative of AKI are detected.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital participates in the Children’s Hospital Neonatal Consortium (CHCN) and over 40 other level IV NICUs. Dr. Rumpel has a leadership role in the consortium with the kidney focus group. This group investigates the incidence, risk factors and outcomes associated with AKI using the large database. The kidney focus group, co-led by Dr. Rumpel, is also interrogating the CHCN database to look at current practices of kidney replacement therapies (dialysis) in neonates and to investigate neonates with congenital anomalies of the kidney and urinary tract.
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Arkansas Children’s Hospital has the only Arkansas Department of Health-designated Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the state. Arkansas Children’s Hospital has created the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Nursery Alliance to support hospitals around the state so that their patients and families can receive care closer to home.
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