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Pediatrics. 2013 Nov;132(5):841-6. doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-1686. Epub 2013 Oct 21.

Active versus passive cooling during neonatal transport.

Author information

  • 1BSc, MBBS, MRCPCH, Neonatal ICU, Box 402, Rosie Hospital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK. topun.austin@addenbrookes.nhs.uk.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:

Therapeutic hypothermia is now the standard of care for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Treatment should be started early, and it is often necessary to transfer the infant to a regional NICU for ongoing care. There are no large studies reporting outcomes from infants cooled passively compared with active (servo-controlled) cooling during transfer. Our goal was to review data from a regional transport service, comparing both methods of cooling.

METHODS:

This was a retrospective observational study of 143 infants referred to a regional NICU for ongoing therapeutic hypothermia. Of the 134 infants transferred, the first 64 were cooled passively, and 70 were subsequently cooled after purchase of a servo-controlled mattress. Key outcome measures were time to arrival at the regional unit, temperature at referral and arrival at the regional unit, and temperature stability during transfer.

RESULTS:

The age cooling was started was significantly shorter in the actively cooled group (46 [0-352] minutes vs 120 [0-502] minutes; P <.01). The median (range) stabilization time (153 [60-385] minutes vs 133 [45-505] minutes; P = .04) and age at arrival at the regional unit (504 [191-924] minutes vs 452 [225-1265]) minutes; P = .01) were significantly shorter in the actively cooled group. Only 39% of infants passively cooled were within the target temperature range at arrival to the regional unit compared with 100% actively cooled.

CONCLUSIONS:

Servo-controlled active cooling has been shown to improve temperature stability and is associated with a reduction in transfer time.

KEYWORDS:

hypothermia; hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; neonatal; transport medicine

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