Neonatal Neurological Disorder Treatment

UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh provides neonatal neurological disorder treatment for many conditions. It's based on the latest knowledge and standard of care available, and the treatment we recommend will depend on which disorder your child has.

Our goal in treating your child is always to use the least invasive treatment possible, while providing the greatest relief from symptoms. We will also connect you to other services you may need during treatment, such as social work or physical therapy.

In Utero Treatment

For some conditions, treatment may start in utero. The High-Risk Pregnancy and the Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at UPMC, in collaboration with Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center at Magee-Womens Hospital, offers comprehensive fetal services to prevent or mitigate some types of neurological conditions that may be acquired in utero. They play a vital role in early detection. That may include treatment of placental problems with medical or minimally invasive surgeries, and/or close monitoring of Rh incompatibility.

Post-Birth Treatment

Here are some of the specialized neurological treatment options available for newborns. If surgery is recommended for your child, you can rest assured that our team of specialists would not perform the surgery unless they all agree it's the best course of action for your child.

Total body hypothermia

With this treatment, your child's body temperature is lowered for a short duration of time after birth. This is to slow some of the ongoing complications of neurological injury following birth asphyxia.

Video EEG

At CHP, we have the ability to continuously monitor your child via video electroencephalography (EEG). It's a regular EEG, which is when small electrodes are placed on your child's head to see what's going on inside it, but your child is videotaped during. This allows your team of doctors to monitor what your child does during seizures. This test doesn't hurt, and it usually takes 6 hours or a few days to complete (longer than a regular EEG). Time will depend on what your doctors need to gather.


There's round-the-clock availability of neuro imaging at UPMC. This includes bedside encephalography and portable computed tomography. Your child may also have an MRI. Interventional radiology, which CHP was one of the first pediatric hospitals to offer, is also available. It would be minimally invasive and is sometimes considered an alternative to open surgery. It's available to treat certain brain conditions, such as arteriovenous malformations.

Whatever treatment options ends up being best for your child, UPMC has a dedicated neuro-neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with a highly trained, dedicated nursing staff ready to help.

Lifestyle changes

Some neurological disorder treatment consists of putting your child on a specific diet. Symptoms in some disorders can be greatly reduced by reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing fats and proteins. An example of this is the ketogenic diet. Our care team will work with you to ensure any special diet meets your child's nutritional needs and that your child can tolerate the diet. This type of diet is often used with other treatments as well.

There's a range of services at CHP that help establish and support your child's care. Those include:

  • Multispecialty consultants
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy and feeding team
  • Developmental therapists
  • Audiology
  • Physical therapy

Physical therapy may be recommended for some children with a neurological disorder that causes muscle weakness or difficulty with coordination. Other children may benefit from physical therapy after a surgical procedure.

Some newborns don't respond well to normal treatments, and sometimes there are no good treatments. If this is true for your child, you may want to know about any clinical studies or research studies your child may be eligible. There is continuous participation and collaboration with multiple centers to research improvements in treatment standards for a variety of neurological conditions.

To learn more about neurological disorder treatment in newborns or to schedule an appointment for your child with UPMC Children's Hospital's Brain Care Institute, please call 412-692-5520.