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NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome)

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Introduction to nas neonatal abstinence syndrome
Introduction to NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome)

  • NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) is termed as a group of problem a infant experiences when withdrawling from exposure to narcotics.

  • NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) happens once a baby is exposed to drug within the womb before birth.

  • NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) may result from the utilization of prescription drugs as lawfully prescribed, from the abuse of prescription drugs, or from the utilization of unlawful opioids like Cocain.

Types of nas neonatal abstinence syndrome
Types of NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome)

There are two types of NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome)

  • Prenatal

  • Postnatal

    Prenatal:- PrenatalNAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome)occurs due to use of drugs by the mother during pregnancy. The foetus become drug dependent and experience withdrawal symptoms after birth, when exposure to the drug is suddenly stopped.

Types of nas neonatal abstinence syndrome1
Types of NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome)

  • Postnatal:- PostnatalNAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) follows the use of drugs for the baby in situations like emergency mechanical ventilation that requires analgesia.

  • Postnatal NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) results when an abrupt discontinuation of opioid analgesia occurs, usually after prolonged drug exposure.

Symptoms of nas neonatal abstinence syndrome
Symptoms of NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome)

Some sign of NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) include:

  • High pitched cry

  • Tremors/jittering/shaking of arms, legs, face

  • Yawning

  • Hard time sucking during feeding times

  • Poor weight gain

  • Fast breathing

  • Frantic sucking - fists, fingers, thumbs

Continue symptoms of nas neonatal abstinence syndrome
Continue:- Symptoms of NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome)

  • Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep

  • Fussy - hard to calm

  • Sneezing/stuffy nose

  • Tense arms, legs and body

  • Vomiting/diarrhoea

  • Skin rashes - more so in the diaper area and face

  • Warm to touch/sweating

Diagnosis of nas neonatal abstinence syndrome
Diagnosis of NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome)

Tests to diagnose NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) include: 

  • NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) scoring systems: These scoring systems allot point to each symptom the baby presents with depending upon its severity. The overall score decides the necessity for treatment.

  • Meconium analysis:Meconium is the first stool passed by the baby. It is the best method for detection of the drug used.

Continue diagnosis of nas neonatal abstinence syndrome
Continue:- Diagnosis of NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome)

  • Urine analysis:Urine analysis is also a widely used method for detection of drug exposure in the newborn, as it contains higher concentrations of the drug in comparison with the blood.

  • Hair analysis: This test is not commonly used as it is expensive. But the sample collection is very easy and can be done up to 3 months after birth.

Treatments of nas neonatal abstinence syndrome
Treatments of NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome)

Steps to treat infants with NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) include:

  • Frequent, small portions of high calorie formula feeds are given for children who present with problems of feeding and weight gain. This helps with the nutrition of the baby.

  • Intravenous fluids are considered in case of severe vomiting in a dehydrated infant.

Continue treatments of nas neonatal abstinence syndrome
Continue:- Treatments of NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome)

Children with NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) are often irritable and fussy. One can follow these steps to calm the baby:

  • Switching off the lights and keeping a low noise or calm environment around them

  • Minimizing handling the baby and use of pacifiers

  • Gentle rocking and swaddling also helps

    If these measures do not ease the situation, drug therapy would be required. Morphine or methadone is commonly used in treating this condition. However, the choice drug to be used depends on the substance used by the mother during her pregnancy.