Effect of temperature on thromboelastography and implications for clinical use in newborns undergoing therapeutic hypothermia

Pediatr Res. 2014 May;75(5):663-9. doi: 10.1038/pr.2014.19. Epub 2014 Feb 12.


Background: Encephalopathic neonates undergoing therapeutic hypothermia have increased risk for coagulopathy secondary to perinatal asphyxia and effects of cooling on the coagulation enzyme cascade. Thromboelastography (TEG) allows for a comprehensive assessment of coagulation that can be regulated for temperature. TEG has not been previously evaluated in newborns undergoing hypothermia treatment.

Methods: Encephalopathic neonates treated with systemic hypothermia were enrolled in this prospective observational study. Daily blood specimens were collected for standard coagulation tests and platelet counts during hypothermia and after rewarming. Concurrent TEG assays were performed at 33.5 and 37.0 °C for comparison.

Results: A total of 48 paired TEGs from 24 subjects were performed. Forty percent of the subjects were males, the mean (± SD) birth weight was 3.2 ± 0.7 kg, and the mean gestational age was 38.4 ± 1.4 wk. TEG results differed significantly between assays performed at 37.0 vs. 33.5 °C, indicating more impaired coagulation at 33.5 °C. TEG parameters clot kinetics, angle, maximum amplitude (MA), and coagulation index were significantly associated with clinical bleeding (P < 0.05). These remained significant (except for MA) after controlling for transfusion therapy.

Conclusion: TEG results are affected by temperature, consistent with the known association of hypothermia with coagulopathy. Several TEG parameters are predictive of clinical bleeding in newborns undergoing hypothermia. Selected cutpoints to predict bleeding risk are temperature dependent.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation
  • Brain Ischemia / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperammonemia / therapy
  • Hypothermia, Induced / methods*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Temperature
  • Thrombelastography / methods*