Hypothermia for neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012 Jun 1;166(6):558-66. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.1772.


Objective: To establish the evidence of therapeutic hypothermia for newborns with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy(HIE).

Data sources: Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Oxford Database of Perinatal Trials, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and previous reviews.

Study selection: Randomized controlled trials that compared therapeutic hypothermia to normothermia for newborns with HIE.

Intervention: Therapeutic hypothermia.

Main outcome measures: Death or major neurodevelopmental disability at 18 months.

Results: Seven trials including 1214 newborns were identified. Therapeutic hypothermia resulted in a reduction in the risk of death or major neurodevelopmental disability(risk ratio [RR], 0.76; 95% CI, 0.69-0.84) and increase in the rate of survival with normal neurological function (1.63; 1.36-1.95) at age 18 months. Hypothermia reduced the risk of death or major neurodevelopmental disability at age 18 months in newborns with moderate HIE (RR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.56-0.81) and in newborns with severe HIE (0.83; 0.74-0.92). Both total body cooling and selective head cooling resulted in reduction in the risk of death or major neurodevelopmental disability(RR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.66-0.85 and 0.77; 0.65-0.93,respectively).

Conclusion: Hypothermia improves survival and neurodevelopment in newborns with moderate to severe HIE.Total body cooling and selective head cooling are effective methods in treating newborns with HIE. Clinicians should consider offering therapeutic hypothermia as part of routine clinical care to these newborns.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Developmental Disabilities / etiology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia, Induced / adverse effects
  • Hypothermia, Induced / methods*
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / complications
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / mortality
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / therapy*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Treatment Outcome