Hypothermia Reduces Neurological Damage in Asphyxiated Newborn InfantsCompagnoni G. · Pogliani L. · Lista G. · Castoldi F. · Fontana P. · Mosca F.
Department of Neonatology, ICP, NICU-‘V. Buzzi’ Children’s Hospital, Milan, Italy
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Background: Perinatal asphyxia remains one of the most devastating neurologic processes. There is experimental and clinical evidence that cerebral cooling may suppress the biochemical cascades leading to delayed cerebral damage. Objective: To determine if hypothermia started soon after delivery reduces cerebral damage in term infants. Design/Methods: Retrospective chart analysis with historical controls. Ten asphyxiated newborns treated with hypothermia between October 1998 and October 1999 were compared to 11 asphyxiated newborns admitted from September 1997 to September 1998. Characteristics at birth of infants of the two groups (control and hypothermia) were comparable. After obtaining parental consent, whole-body hypothermia was induced before the 6th hour of life by placing a cold blanket (Polar Air, Augustine Medical Inc., model 600) around the body of the patients. Rectal temperature was maintained between 32 and 34°C for 72 h. Outcome was assessed by neurological evaluation at birth and every 3 months up to the 12th month. Brain MRI was performed in the 2nd month. We had no evidence of severe adverse events related to hypothermia. In the hypothermic group there was a significant (p < 0.05) reduction of major neurologic abnormalities at follow-up and abnormal MRI findings. Conclusions: Hypothermia appears to be safe. Our results on morphological damage evaluated by brain MRI and neurological outcome are encouraging: randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm this experience.
© 2002 S. Karger AG, Basel
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