Outcomes of preterm infants treated with hypothermia for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

Tamara I. Herrera, Laura Edwards, William F. Malcolm, P. Brian Smith, Kimberley A. Fisher, Carolyn Pizoli, Kathryn E. Gustafson, Ricki F. Goldstein, C. Michael Cotten, Ronald N. Goldberg, Margarita Bidegain

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53 Scopus citations


Background: Therapeutic hypothermia reduces the risk of death, or moderate to severe neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) in term infants with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Reports of its safety and efficacy in preterm infants are scarce. Objective: Report short and long-term outcomes of preterm infants with HIE who received therapeutic hypothermia. Methods: A retrospective cohort analysis of all preterm infants <36 weeks’ gestation with HIE who received whole body hypothermia in a single center from January 2007 to April 2015. The primary outcome was death or moderate to severe NDI defined by moderate or severe cerebral palsy, severe hearing or visual impairment, or cognitive score < 85 on the Bayley Scales of Infant Development III (BSID III) at 18–24 months’ adjusted age. Results: 30 infants with a median gestational age and birthweight of 35 weeks’ (range; 33–35) and 2575 g (1850–4840) and a median first postnatal blood pH of 6.81 (6.58–7.14). Complications included coagulopathy (50%), early clinical seizures (43.3%), arterial hypotension (40%), persistent metabolic acidosis (37%) and thrombocytopenia (20%). Four infants died before or soon after discharge (18.2%). Eighteen surviving infants (69.2%) had follow up data; 7 of them had moderate to severe NDI (38.9%). Cognitive, motor and language mean composite BSID III scores were 84 (54–110), 83 (46–118), and 78 (46–112). Death or moderate to severe NDI occurred in 11/22 (50%) infants with known outcomes. Conclusion: Large randomized trials on efficacy and safety are needed in this highly vulnerable population as the incidence of complications and the combined outcome of death and NDI is concerning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalEarly Human Development
StatePublished - Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • Birth asphyxia
  • Late preterm infants
  • Neonatal encephalopathy
  • Neurodevelopmental impairment
  • Therapeutic hypothermia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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