Hypothermia for newborns with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy
A Peliowski-Davidovich | Canadian Paediatric Society | Fetus and Newborn Committee
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) remains a significant cause of mortality and long-term disability in late preterm and term infants. Mild therapeutic hypothermia to a rectal temperature of 34±0.5°C initiated as soon as possible within the first 6 h of life decreases mortality and severe long-term neurodevelopmental disabilities in infants with moderate HIE who are ≥36 weeks' gestational age. There are minimal side effects, and the incidence of disability in survivors is not increased. Infants with severe encephalopathy are less likely to benefit from treatment. Cooling may be achieved by either total body or selective head cooling. As cooling is now considered a standard of care, infants ≥36 weeks' gestational age who are depressed at birth should be assessed to determine whether they meet the criteria for cooling. There is currently no evidence that therapeutic hypothermia offers any benefit to infants <36 weeks' gestational age.