Objective: To compare the characteristics and outcomes of neonates with mild hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) who received hypothermia versus standard care.
Study design: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of neonates ≥35 weeks' gestation and ≥1800 g admitted with a diagnosis of Sarnat stage 1 encephalopathy. We evaluated length of hospital stay, duration of ventilation, evidence of brain injury on MRI, and neonatal morbidities.
Results: Of 1089 eligible neonates, 393 (36%) received hypothermia and 595 (55%) had neuroimaging. The hypothermia group was more likely to be outborn, born via C-section, had lower Apgar scores, and required extensive resuscitation. They had longer durations of stay (9 vs. 6 days, P < 0.001), respiratory support (3 vs. 2 days, P < 0.001), but lower odds of brain injury on MRI (adjusted odds ratio 0.33, 95% CI: 0.22-0.52) compared with standard care group.
Conclusion: Despite prolongation of hospital stay, hypothermia may be potentially beneficial in neonates with mild HIE; however, selection bias cannot be ruled out.