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J Perinatol. 2006 Mar;26(3):180-4.

Mild hypothermia via selective head cooling as neuroprotective therapy in term neonates with perinatal asphyxia: an experience from a single neonatal intensive care unit.

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  • 1Department of Neonatology, Yuying Children's Hospital of Wenzhou Medical College, Wenzhou, China. linzhenlang@hotmail.com



The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy of mild hypothermia via selective head cooling as a neuroprotective therapy in term infants with perinatal asphyxia.


Full-term newborns who had 5 min Apgar scores <6, first arterial blood gas pH<7.10 or BD>15 mEq/l, and with the clinical signs of encephalopathy were enrolled within 6 h after birth. Patients were randomized to receive mild hypothermia treatment via selective head cooling for a total of 72 h or receive routine treatment as a control. Brain hypoxic-ischemic injury was quantified based on the head computed tomographic scan (CT scan) at postnatal age 5-7 days and a Neonatal Behavioral Neurological Assessment (NBNA) score at 7-10 days of life.


A total of 58 patients (30 hypothermia, 28 control) completed the study. Hypothermia was well tolerated in this study and attenuated the hypoxic-ischemic brain injury due to perinatal asphyxia. Head CT scan demonstrated moderate to severe hypoxic-ischemic changes in only 4/30 cases from the hypothermic group. In contrast, 18/28 cases in the control group showed moderate to severe hypoxic-ischemic changes (chi (2)=15.97, P<0.01). Brain hypothermia also significantly improved the NBNA score (32+/-2 in the hypothermic group vs 28+/-3 in the control group, P<0.01).


Our results suggest that selective head cooling may be used as a neuroprotective therapy in term neonates with perinatal asphyxia. A long-term follow-up study is needed to further validate the results of this study.

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