Hypothermia is a potential neuroprotective intervention to treat neonatal post-asphyxial (hypoxic-ischemic) encephalopathy (HIE). In this meta-analysis of 13 clinical trials published to date, therapeutic hypothermia was associated with a highly reproducible reduction in the risk of the combined outcome of mortality or moderate-to-severe neurodevelopmental disability in childhood. This improvement was internally consistent, as shown by significant reductions in the individual risk for death, moderate-to-severe neurodevelopmental disability, severe cerebral palsy, cognitive delay, and psychomotor delay. Patients in the hypothermia group had higher incidences of arrhythmia and thrombocytopenia; however, these were not clinically important. This analysis supports the use of hypothermia in reducing the risk of the mortality or moderate-to-severe neurodevelopmental disability in infants with moderate HIE.
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