Techniques for therapeutic hypothermia during transport and in hospital for perinatal asphyxial encephalopathy

Semin Fetal Neonatal Med. 2010 Oct;15(5):276-86. doi: 10.1016/j.siny.2010.03.006. Epub 2010 Jun 19.


Over the past 10 years, several randomised clinical trials of therapeutic hypothermia for perinatal asphyxial encephalopathy have demonstrated both safety and efficacy of therapeutic hypothermia in improving neurological outcome. Today cooling is increasingly used in tertiary level units throughout the developed world. Therapeutic hypothermia (cooling to a rectal or core temperature of 33-34 degrees C for 72 h) is easier to achieve in newborn infants than in adults. There is a natural tendency for the core temperature of infants who suffered birth asphyxia to fall and remain lower than non-asphyxiated infants for up to 16 h after birth. A variety of high- and low-tech surface cooling methods have been used in neonates - newer systems are servo-controlled and provide very stable temperature control. It is well accepted that to be most effective, cooling needs to be initiated as soon as possible after birth and, thus, needs to be commenced prior to the transfer of infants to cooling centres. We describe our experience of passive cooling before and during the transfer of infants with encephalopathy to cooling centres in a major city in the UK.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / complications*
  • Body Temperature
  • Clinical Protocols*
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia, Induced / methods*
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / etiology
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / therapy*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Transportation of Patients / methods*
  • United Kingdom