Brain temperature in neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy during therapeutic hypothermia

J Pediatr. 2014 Dec;165(6):1129-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.07.022. Epub 2014 Aug 21.


Objective: To noninvasively determine brain temperature of neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) during and after therapeutic hypothermia.

Study design: Using a phantom, we derived a calibration curve to calculate brain temperature based on chemical shift differences in magnetic resonance spectroscopy. We enrolled infants admitted for therapeutic hypothermia and assigned them to a moderate HIE (M-HIE) or severe HIE (S-HIE) group based on Sarnat staging. Rectal (core) temperature and magnetic resonance spectroscopy data used to derive regional brain temperatures (basal ganglia, thalamus, and cortical gray matter) were acquired concomitantly during and after therapeutic hypothermia. We compared brain and rectal temperature in the M-HIE and S-HIE groups during and after therapeutic hypothermia using 2-tailed t-tests.

Results: Eighteen patients (14 with M-HIE and 4 with S-HIE) were enrolled. As expected, both brain and rectal temperatures were lower during therapeutic hypothermia than after therapeutic hypothermia. Brain temperature in patients with S-HIE was higher than in those with M-HIE both during (35.1 ± 1.3°C vs 33.7 ± 1.2°C; P < .01) and after therapeutic hypothermia (38.1 ± 1.5°C vs 36.8 ± 1.3°C; P < .01). The brain-rectal temperature gradient was also greater in the S-HIE group both during and after therapeutic hypothermia.

Conclusion: For this analysis of a small number of patients, brain temperature and brain-rectal temperature gradient were higher in neonates with S-HIE than in those with M-HIE during and after therapeutic hypothermia. Further studies are needed to determine whether further decreasing brain temperature in neonates with S-HIE is safe and effective in improving outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Body Temperature*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia, Induced*
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / physiopathology*
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / therapy*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Rectum / physiopathology
  • Reproducibility of Results