, Volume 48, Issue 6, pp 445-451
Date: 30 Nov 2010

Whole body cooling in newborn infants with perinatal asphyxial encephalopathy in a low resource setting: A Feasibility Trial

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Abstract

Objective

To determine the feasibility and safety of whole body cooling in newborn infants with perinatal asphyxial encephalopathy in a low resource setting.

Design

Feasibility trial.

Setting

Tertiary care perinatal centre.

Subjects

Infants born at ≥ 35 weeks gestation with perinatal asphyxia were included in the study.

Interventions

Infants were cooled to a rectal temperature of 33±0.5°C for 72 hours using cloth-covered ice-gel packs. Vital parameters were monitored continuously.

Outcome measures

The primary outcome was the achievement of target temperature within 1 hour of initiation of treatment and maintaining the target temperature for 72 hours. Adverse events and possible complications of hypothermia were the secondary outcomes measured.

Results

Twenty infants were included in the study. The mean time taken to achieve target rectal temperature was 52±25 minutes. The mean rectal temperature during cooling was 32.9±0.11°C. The target temperature could be maintained for 72 hours without difficulty in all babies. Adverse events observed during cooling were thrombocytopenia (25%), sinus bradycardia (25%), deranged bleeding parameters (20%), aposteatonecrosis (15%), hyperglycemia (15%), hypoglycemia (10%), hypoxemia (5%), life-threatening coagulopathy (5%) and death (5%). Shivering was noted in many of the babies, especially in the initial phase of cooling.

Conclusion

Whole body cooling in term infants with perinatal asphyxia is achievable, safe and inexpensive in a low-resource setting.