To examine the predictive ability of stage of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) for death or moderate/severe disability at 18 months among neonates undergoing hypothermia.
Stage of encephalopathy was evaluated at <6 hr of age, during study intervention and at discharge among 204 participants in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network Trial of whole body hypothermia for HIE. HIE was examined as a predictor of outcome by regression models.
Moderate and severe HIE occurred at <6 hrs of age among 68% and 32% of 101 hypothermia group infants and 60% and 40% of 103 control group infants, respectively. At 24 and 48 hrs of study intervention, infants in the hypothermia group had less severe HIE than infants in the control group. Persistence of severe HIE at 72 hrs increased the risk of death or disability after controlling for treatment group. The discharge exam improved the predictive value of stage of HIE at < 6hrs for death/disability.
On serial neurological examinations, improvement in stage of HIE was associated with cooling. Persistence of severe HIE at 72 hours and an abnormal neurological exam at discharge was associated with a greater risk of death or disability.
Neurological examinations; neonates; clinical biomarker; death; disability
The effect of birth location on hypothermia-related outcomes has not been rigorously examined in the literature. In this study, we determined whether birth location had an impact on the benefits of whole-body cooling to 33.5 °C for 72 h in term infants (n = 208) with hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) who participated in the Neonatal Research Network (NRN) randomized controlled trial.
Heterogeneity by birth location was examined with respect to cooling treatment for the 18-mo primary outcomes (death, moderate disability, severe disability) and secondary outcomes (death, components of disability), and in-hospital organ dysfunction. Logistic regression models were used to generate adjusted odds ratios.
Infants bom at a location other than an NRN center (outborn) (n = 93) experienced significant delays in initiation of therapy (mean (SD): 5.5 (1.1) vs. 4.4 (1.2) h), lower baseline temperatures (36.6 (1.2) vs. 37.1 (0.9) °C), and more severe HIE (43 vs. 29%) than infants born in an NRN center (inborn) (n = 115). Maternal education <12 y (50 vs. 14%) and African-American ethnicity (43 vs. 25%) were more common in the inborn group. When adjusted for NRN center and HIE severity, there were no significant differences in 18-mo outcomes or in-hospital organ dysfunction between inborn and outborn infants.
Although limited by sample size and some differences in baseline characteristics, the study showed that birth location does not appear to modify the treatment effect of hypothermia after HIE.
Death or severe disability is so common following an Apgar score of 0 at 10 minutes in observational studies that the Neonatal Resuscitation Program suggests considering discontinuation of resuscitation after 10 minutes of effective CPR.
To determine if Apgar scores at 10 minutes are associated with death or disability in early childhood following perinatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).
Design, Setting, and Patients
This is a secondary analysis of infants enrolled in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network hypothermia trial. Infants ≥ 36 weeks gestation had clinical and/or biochemical abnormalities at birth, and encephalopathy at < 6 hours. Logistic regression and classification and regression tree (CART) analysis was used to determine associations between Apgar scores at 10 minutes and neurodevelopmental outcome adjusting for covariates. Associations are expressed as odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI).
Main Outcome Measure
Death or disability (moderate or severe) at 18–22 months of age.
Twenty of 208 infants were excluded (missing data). More than 90% of infants had Apgar scores of 0–2 at 1 minute and Apgars at 5 and 10 minutes shifted to progressively higher values; at 10 minutes 27% of infants had Apgar scores of 0–2. After adjustment each point decrease in Apgar score at 10 minutes was associated with a 45% increase in the odds of death or disability (OR 1.45, CI 1.22–1.72). Death or disability occurred in 76, 82 and 80% of infants with Apgar scores at 10 minutes of 0, 1 and 2, respectively. CART analysis indicated that Apgar scores at 10 minutes were discriminators of outcome.
Apgar scores at 10 minutes provide useful prognostic data before other evaluations are available for infants with HIE. Death or moderate/severe disability is common but not uniform with Apgar scores < 3; caution is needed before adopting a specific time interval to guide duration of resuscitation.
Apgar scores; Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy; cardiopulmonary resuscitation
Inflammatory cytokines may mediate hypoxic-ischemic (HI) injury and offer insights into the severity of injury and the timing of recovery. In our randomized, multicenter trial of hypothermia, we analyzed the temporal relationship of serum cytokine levels in neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) with neurodevelopmental outcome at 12 months. Serum cytokines were measured every 12 hours for 4 days in 28 hypothermic (H) and 22 normothermic (N) neonates with HIE. Monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) and interleukins (IL)-6, IL-8, and IL-10 were significantly higher in the H group. Elevated IL-6 and MCP-1 within 9 hours after birth and low macrophage inflammatory protein 1a (MIP-1a) at 60 to 70 hours of age were associated with death or severely abnormal neurodevelopment at 12 months of age. However, IL-6, IL-8, and MCP-1 showed a biphasic pattern in the H group, with early and delayed peaks. In H neonates with better outcomes, uniform down modulation of IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 from their peak levels at 24 hours to their nadir at 36 hours was observed. Modulation of serum cytokines after HI injury may be another mechanism of improved outcomes in neonates treated with induced hypothermia.
chemokines; cytokines; hypoxic-ischemic brain injury; induced hypothermia
To examine the predictive validity of the amplitude integrated electroencephalogram (aEEG) and stage of encephalopathy among infants with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) eligible for therapeutic whole-body hypothermia.
Neonates were eligible for this prospective study if moderate or severe HIE occurred at <6 hours and an aEEG was obtained at <9 hours of age. The primary outcome was death or moderate/severe disability at 18 months.
There were 108 infants (71 with moderate HIE and 37 with severe HIE) enrolled in the study. aEEG findings were categorized as normal, with continuous normal voltage (n = 12) or discontinuous normal voltage (n = 12), or abnormal, with burst suppression (n = 22), continuous low voltage (n = 26), or flat tracing (n = 36). At 18 months, 53 infants (49%) experienced death or disability. Severe HIE and an abnormal aEEG were related to the primary outcome with univariate analysis, whereas severe HIE alone was predictive of outcome with multivariate analysis. Addition of aEEG pattern to HIE stage did not add to the predictive value of the model; the area under the curve changed from 0.72 to 0.75 (P = .19).
The aEEG background pattern did not significantly enhance the value of the stage of encephalopathy at study entry in predicting death and disability among infants with HIE.
neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; amplitude integrated EEG
Whole-body hypothermia reduced the frequency of death or moderate/severe disabilities in neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in a randomized, controlled multicenter trial.
Our goal was to evaluate outcomes of safety and effectiveness of hypothermia in infants up to 18 to 22 months of age.
A priori outcomes were evaluated between hypothermia (n = 102) and control (n = 106) groups.
Encephalopathy attributable to causes other than hypoxia-ischemia at birth was not noted. Inotropic support (hypothermia, 59% of infants; control, 56% of infants) was similar during the 72-hour study intervention period in both groups. Need for blood transfusions (hypothermia, 24%; control, 24%), platelet transfusions (hypothermia, 20%; control, 12%), and volume expanders (hypothermia, 54%; control, 49%) was similar in the 2 groups. Among infants with persistent pulmonary hypertension (hypothermia, 25%; control, 22%), nitric-oxide use (hypothermia, 68%; control, 57%) and placement on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (hypothermia, 4%; control, 9%) was similar between the 2 groups. Non–central nervous system organ dysfunctions occurred with similar frequency in the hypothermia (74%) and control (73%) groups. Rehospitalization occurred among 27% of the infants in the hypothermia group and 42% of infants in the control group. At 18 months, the hypothermia group had 24 deaths, 19 severe disabilities, and 2 moderate disabilities, whereas the control group had 38 deaths, 25 severe disabilities, and 1 moderate disability. Growth parameters were similar between survivors. No adverse outcomes were noted among infants receiving hypothermia with transient reduction of temperature below a target of 33.5°C at initiation of cooling. There was a trend in reduction of frequency of all outcomes in the hypothermia group compared with the control group in both moderate and severe encephalopathy categories.
Although not powered to test these secondary outcomes, whole-body hypothermia in infants with encephalopathy was safe and was associated with a consistent trend for decreasing frequency of each of the components of disability.
hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; whole-body hypothermia; safety; effectiveness
Despite major advances in monitoring technology and knowledge of fetal and neonatal pathophysiology, neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) remains one of the main causes of severe adverse neurological outcome in children. Until recently, there were no therapies other than supportive measures. Over the past several years, mild hypothermia has been proven to be safe to treat HIE. Unfortunately, this neuroprotective strategy seems efficient in preventing brain injury in some asphyxiated newborns, but not in all of them. Thus, there is increasing interest to rapidly understand how to refine hypothermia therapy and add neuroprotective or neurorestorative strategies. Several promising newer treatments to treat birth asphyxia and prevent its devastating neurological consequences are currently being tested. In this paper, the physiopathology behind HIE, the currently available treatment, the potential alternatives, and the next steps before implementation of these other treatments are reviewed.
The objective of our study was to examine the relationship between brain injury and outcome following neonatal hypoxic–ischaemic encephalopathy treated with hypothermia.
Design and patients
Neonatal MRI scans were evaluated in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) randomised controlled trial of whole-body hypothermia and each infant was categorised based upon the pattern of brain injury on the MRI findings. Brain injury patterns were assessed as a marker of death or disability at 18–22 months of age.
Scans were obtained on 136 of 208 trial participants (65%); 73 in the hypothermia and 63 in the control group. Normal scans were noted in 38 of 73 infants (52%) in the hypothermia group and 22 of 63 infants (35%) in the control group. Infants in the hypothermia group had fewer areas of infarction (12%) compared to infants in the control group (22%). Fifty-one of the 136 infants died or had moderate or severe disability at 18 months. The brain injury pattern correlated with outcome of death or disability and with disability among survivors. Each point increase in the severity of the pattern of brain injury was independently associated with a twofold increase in the odds of death or disability.
Fewer areas of infarction and a trend towards more normal scans were noted in brain MRI following whole-body hypothermia. Presence of the NICHD pattern of brain injury is a marker of death or moderate or severe disability at 18–22 months following hypothermia for neonatal encephalopathy.
Therapeutic hypothermia instituted within 6 h of birth has been shown to improve neurodevelopmental outcomes in term newborns with moderate–to–severe hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). The majority of infants who would benefit from cooling are born at centers that do not offer the therapy, and adding the time for transport will result in delays in therapy, that may lead to suboptimal or no neuroprotection for some patients. Our objective was to evaluate the effect of our center's experience with therapeutic hypothermia on neonatal transport.
Retrospective review of all cases of therapeutic hypothermia at a single neonatal intensive care unit from 2005 to 2009.
Of 50 infants with HIE treated with hypothermia, 40 were outborn and 35 were cooled on transport. The majority of patients were passively cooled by the referring clinicians, then actively cooled by our transport team. Overcooling to <32 °C occurred in 34% of patients, but there were no significant differences in admission vital signs or laboratory values between overcooled and appropriately cooled infants. The average time after birth of initiation of passive cooling was 1.4 h and active cooling was 2.7 h compared with the time of admission to our unit of 5.9 h.
We discuss the important aspects of our program, including the education of referring and receiving clinicians and avoidance of overcooling.
hypothermia; hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; neontal transport; neuroprotection; birth asphyxia
Decreases below target temperature were noted among neonates undergoing cooling in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network Trial of whole body hypothermia for neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
To examine the temperature profile and impact on outcome among ≥ 36 week gestation neonates randomized at ≤ 6 hours of age targeting esophageal temperature of 33.5°C for 72 hours.
Infants with intermittent temperatures recorded < 32.0°C during induction and maintenance of cooling were compared to all other cooled infants and relationship with outcome at 18 months was evaluated.
There were no differences in stage of encephalopathy, acidosis, or 10 minute Apgar scores between infants with temperatures < 32.0°C during induction (n=33) or maintenance (n=10) and all other infants who were cooled (n=58); however birth weight was lower and need for blood pressure support higher among infants with temperatures < 32.0 °C compared to all other cooled infants. No increase in acute adverse events were noted among infants with temperatures < 32.0 °C and hours spent < 32°C were not associated with the primary outcome of death or moderate/severe disability or the Bayley II Mental Developmental Index at 18 months.
Term infants with a lower birth weight are at risk for decreasing temperatures < 32.0°C while undergoing body cooling using a servo controlled system. This information suggests extra caution during the application of hypothermia as these lower birth weight infants are at risk for overcooling. Our findings may assist in planning additional trials of lower target temperature for neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
temperature; hypothermia; newborn; hypoxia-ischemia; encephalopathy; whole-body cooling
Neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a clinically defined neurological condition following lack of oxygen and often associated with cardiac dysfunction in term infants. Therapeutic hypothermia after birth is neuroprotective in infants with HIE. However, it is not known whether hypothermia (HT) is also cardioprotective. Four newborn pigs were used in the pilot study and a further 18 newborn pigs (randomly assigned to 72h-normothermia (NT) or 24h-HT followed by 48h-NT) were subjected to global HIE insults. Serum cTnI was measured prior to and post the HIE insult. Blood pressure, inotropic support, blood gases and heart rate (HR) were recorded throughout. Cardiac pathology was assessed from histological sections. Cooling reduced serum cTnI levels significantly in HT pigs by 6h (NT, 1.36±0.67; HT 0.34±0.23 ng/ml, p=0.0009). After rewarming, from 24 to 30h post insult, HR and cTnI increased in the HT group; from HR[24h]=117±22 to HR[30h]=218±32 beats/minute (p=0.0002) and from cTnI[24h]=0.23±0.12 to cTnI[30h]=0.65±0.53ng/ml, (p=0.05). There were fewer ischemic lesions on cardiac examination (37%) in the HT group compared to the NT group (70%). Hypothermia (24h) pigs did not have the post-insult cTnI increase seen in NT treated pigs. There was a trend that HT improved cardiac pathology in this 3-day survival model.
To investigate the possible relationship between the influencing factors occurring before and during birth in full-term infants and the outcome of retinopathy.
Totally 816 full-term infants admitted in the neonate intensive unit of Boai Hospital of Zhongshan between 1 May, 2008 and 30 June, 2011 were included in the study. Fundus examination was performed and evaluated individually on them at the age of 48 hours after delivery, 2 weeks and 1 month. Some possible risk factors happening prenatally or during delivery such as pregnant related hypertension, placenta previa, placental abruption etc, as well as some neonatal risk factors such as neonatal asphyxia, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), low birth weight etc, were recorded and evacuated. Then the effect of the risk factors of full-term infants on retinopathy was studied.
The incidence of retinal hemorrhage of full-term infants with prenatal pregnant related hypertension (PRH) of the mother (43.6%) was significantly higher than that of full-term infants without (8.0%). (P<0.001). The incidence of retinal hemorrhage of full-term infants with neonatal asphyxia and /or hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)(29.3%) was significantly higher than that of those without (15.7%), but correlation was not found between the severity of retina hemorrhage and the degree of hypoxic disease. A pale color of optic disc was associated with a low birth weight of full-term infant. Full-term infants with birth weigh less than 2500g had a significant higher incidence of retinopathy than those with birth weight equal or more than 2500g ( P<0.001).
The main influencing factors which lead to retinopathy of high risk full-term infants are prenatal factors such as PRH, and some neonatal risk factors such as asphyxia, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and low birth weight.
full-term infant; high risk factor; retinopathy
Perinatal asphyxia leading to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a common problem causing multi organ dysfunction including myocardial involvement which can affect the outcome.
To evaluate the myocardial dysfunction in neonates having HIE by electrocardiographic(ECG) and cardiac enzymes (CK Total, CK-MB and Troponin I) and find out the relationship with HIE and outcome.
This was a hospital based prospective study. Sixty term neonates who had suffered perinatal asphyxia and developed HIE were enrolled. Myocardial involvement was assessed by clinical, ECG, and CK Total, CK-MB and Troponin I measurements.
Of 60 cases, 13(21.7%) were in mild, 27(45%) in moderate and 20(33.3%) belonged to severe,HIE. ECG was abnormal in 46 (76.7%); of these 19 (41.3%) had grade I, 13 (28.2%) grades II and III each and 1 (2.1%) with grade IV changes. Serum levels of CK Total, CK- MB and Troponin I were raised in 54 (90%), 52 (86.6%) and 48 (80%) neonates, respectively. ECG changes and enzymatic levels showed increasing abnormalities with severity of HIE, and the differences among different grades were significant (p = 0.002, 0.02, <0.001 and 0.004, respectively). Nineteen (32%) cases died during hospital stay. The non- survivors had high proportion of abnormal ECG (p = 0.024), raised levels of CK-MB (p = 0.018) and Troponin I (p = 0.008) in comparison to survivors.
Abnormal ECG and cardiac enzymes levels are found in HIE and can lead to poor outcome due to myocardial damage Early detection can help in better management and survival of these neonates.
Perinatal asphyxia; HIE; Myocardial dysfunction
Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is the consequence of systemic asphyxia occurring at birth. Twenty five percent of neonates with HIE develop severe and permanent neuropsychological sequelae, including mental retardation, cerebral palsy, and epilepsy. The outcomes of HIE are devastating and permanent, making it critical to identify and develop therapeutic strategies to reduce brain injury in newborns with HIE. To that end, the neonatal rat model for hypoxic-ischemic brain injury has been developed to model this human condition. The HIE model was first validated by Vannucci et al 1 and has since been extensively used to identify mechanisms of brain injury resulting from perinatal hypoxia-ischemia 2 and to test potential therapeutic interventions 3,4. The HIE model is a two step process and involves the ligation of the left common carotid artery followed by exposure to a hypoxic environment. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) in the hemisphere ipsilateral to the ligated carotid artery does not decrease because of the collateral blood flow via the circle of Willis; however with lower oxygen tension, the CBF in the ipsilateral hemisphere decreases significantly and results in unilateral ischemic injury. The use of 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) to stain and identify ischemic brain tissue was originally developed for adult models of rodent cerebral ischemia 5, and is used to evaluate the extent of cerebral infarctin at early time points up to 72 hours after the ischemic event 6. In this video, we demonstrate the hypoxic-ischemic injury model in postnatal rat brain and the evaluation of the infarct size using TTC staining.
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a serious birth complication affecting full term infants: 40–60% of affected infants die by 2 years of age or have severe disabilities. The majority of the underlying pathologic events of HIE are a result of impaired cerebral blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain with resulting primary and secondary energy failure. In the past, treatment options were limited to supportive medical therapy. Currently, several experimental treatments are being explored in neonates and animal models to ameliorate the effects of secondary energy failure. This review discusses the underlying pathophysiologic effects of a hypoxic-ischemic event and experimental treatment modalities being explored to manage infants with HIE. Further research is needed to better understand if the long-term impact of the experimental treatments and whether the combinations of experimental treatments can improve outcomes in infants with HIE.
infant; hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; experimental treatments
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is a serious condition affecting infants which can result in death and disability. This is a summary of pathogenesis of HIE, animal studies of cooling for hypoxic and ischemic models, human hypothermia trials, and the American Academy of Pediatrics publication on hypothermia for HIE. Hypothermia for neonatal HIE is continuing to evolve as a therapy. Studies, gaps in knowledge and opportunities for research are presented herein.
Neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a leading cause of severe and permanent neurologic disability after birth. The inducible cyclooxygenase COX-2, which along with COX-1 catalyzes the first committed step in prostaglandin (PG) synthesis, elicits significant brain injury in models of cerebral ischemia, however its downstream PG receptor pathways trigger both toxic and paradoxically protective effects. Here, we investigated the function of PGE2 E-prostanoid (EP) receptors in the acute outcome of hypoxic-ischemic (HI) injury in the neonatal rat. We determined the temporal and cellular expression patterns of the EP1-4 receptors before and after HIE and tested whether modulation of EP1-4 receptor function could protect against cerebral injury acutely after HIE. All four EP receptors were expressed in forebrain neurons and were induced in endothelial cells after HIE. Inhibition of EP1 signaling with the selective antagonist SC-51089 or co-activation of EP2-4 receptors with the agonist misoprostol significantly reduced HIE cerebral injury 24h after injury. These receptor ligands also protected brain endothelial cells subjected to oxygen glucose deprivation, suggesting that activation of EP receptor signaling is directly cytoprotective. These data indicate that the G-protein coupled EP receptors may be amenable to pharmacologic targeting in the acute setting of neonatal HIE.
PGE2; EP1-4 receptors; G-protein coupled receptors; misoprostol; hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy
With mounting evidence that hypothermia is neuroprotective in newborns with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), an increasing number of centers are offering this therapy. Hypothermia is associated with a wide range of physiologic changes affecting every organ system, and awareness of these effects is essential for optimum patient management. Lowering the core temperature also alters pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of medications commonly used in asphyxiated neonates, necessitating close attention to drug efficacy and side effects. Rewarming introduces additional risks and challenges as the hypothermia-associated physiologic and pharmacologic changes are reversed. In this review we provide an organ system-based assessment of physiologic changes associated with hypothermia. We also summarize evidence from randomized controlled trials showing lack of serious adverse effects of moderate hypothermia therapy in term and near-term newborns with moderate-to-severe HIE. Finally, we review the effects of hypothermia on drug metabolism and clearance based on studies in animal models and human adults, and limited data from neonates.
hypothermia; hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; neonate; pharmacologic effect; physiology effect; rewarming
It remains controversial as to whether neonatal seizures have additional direct effects on the developing brain separate from the severity of the underlying encephalopathy. Using data collected from infants diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and who were enrolled in an National Institute of Child Health and Human Development trial of hypothermia, we analyzed associations between neonatal clinical seizures and outcomes at 18 months of age. Of the 208 infants enrolled, 102 received whole body hypothermia and 106 were controls. Clinical seizures were generally noted during the first 4 days of life and rarely afterward. When adjustment was made for study treatment and severity of encephalopathy, seizures were not associated with death, or moderate or severe disability, or lower Bayley Mental Development Index scores at 18 months of life. Among infants diagnosed with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, the mortality and morbidity often attributed to neonatal seizures can be better explained by the underlying severity of encephalopathy.
neonatal seizures; whole-body hypothermia; neurodevelopmental outcome; hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
To compare the association between perinatal events and the pattern and extent of brain injury on early MRI in newborns with and without therapeutic hypothermia for hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).
We performed a cohort study of 35 treated and 25 non-treated neonates who underwent MRI. The injury patterns were defined a priori as: normal (N), watershed (WS) or basal ganglia/thalamus (BG/T) predominant, as well as a dichotomous outcome of moderate-to-severe versus mild-no injury.
Neonates with hypothermia had less extensive WS and BG/T injuries, and a greater proportion had normal imaging. Therapeutic hypothermia was associated with a decreased risk of both BG/T injury (RR 0.29, 95% CI 0.10-0.81, p = 0.01) and moderate-severe injury. Neonates with sentinel events showed a decrease in BG/T predominant injury and increase in normal imaging. All neonates with decreased fetal movements had injury, predominantly WS, regardless of therapeutic hypothermia.
These results validate reports of reduced brain injury following therapeutic hypothermia, and suggest that perinatal factors are important indicators of response to treatment.
Neonatal; MRI; Hypoxia-ischemia; Hypothermia therapy
Moderate to severe hypoxic–ischemic injury in newborn infants, manifested as encephalopathy immediately or within hours after birth, is associated with a high risk of either death or a lifetime with disability. In recent multicenter clinical trials, hypothermia initiated within the first 6 postnatal hours has emerged as a therapy that reduces the risk of death or impairment among infants with hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy. Prior to hypothermia, no therapies directly targeting neonatal encephalopathy secondary to hypoxic–ischemic injury had convincing evidence of efficacy. Hypothermia therapy is now becoming increasingly available at tertiary centers. Despite the deserved enthusiasm for hypothermia, obstetric and neonatology caregivers, as well as society at large, must be reminded that in the clinical trials more than 40% of cooled infants died or survived with impairment. Although hypothermia is an evidence-based therapy, additional discoveries are needed to further improve outcome after HIE. In this article, we briefly present the epidemiology of neonatal encephalopathy due to hypoxic–ischemic injury, describe the rationale for the use of hypothermia therapy for hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy, and present results of the clinical trials that have demonstrated the efficacy of hypothermia. We also present findings noted during and after these trials that will guide care and direct research for this devastating problem.
HIE; hyperthermia; hypothermia; hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy; neonate; perinatal asphyxia
The issue concerning neurologic outcome in patients with perinatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy (H.I.E) has inspired many studies which tried to identify adequate prognostic factors. Our work aims to find among neonatal parameters:
- factors which help to predict the risk to develop both Cerebral Palsy (CP) and secondary Epilepsy at one year of age in subjects affected by perinatal Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy,
- correlations between the neonatal parameters and the variable severity of above mentioned sequelae.
We have recruited 32 subjects, whose history and neuroimages suggested a perinatal H.I.E and we have retrospectively analysed clinical-instrumental parameters at birth and at one year of age.
At one year cut-off, 9 patients developed both secondary epilepsy and CP (28%), whereas the other subjects showed only motor delay (31%), only secondary epilepsy (3%) or only CP (38%). Patients with both the severest sequelae were essentially term infants (only 2/9 were pre-term infants), with normal weight (only 3 LBW) and 7 of them with early pathologic EEG and neuroimages pointing out cortex injuries (typical of term infants). A statistic analysis showed the following correlations: birth weight and global prognosis (χ2 = 14,03; p = 0,04); neonatal clinical pattern and CP's severity (χ2 = 14,03; p = 0,0009); early EEG and CP's severity (χ2 = 4,32; p = 0,04); epileptic onset age and CP and Epilepsy's severity (F = 16,01; p = 0,005).
Birth weight represented a predictive factor of early neurological outcome (<1,5 kg birth weight neonates are not at risk of both epilepsy and CP); neonatal clinical pattern and early EEG were correlated with variable severity of CP; an epileptic exordium in the first 6 months led up to a more severe epileptic and paretic outcome.
From a clinical point of view it is of crucial importance to have some parameters which enable to discriminate patients at risk of more severe sequelae from those at risk of moderate severity outcome.
Therapeutic hypothermia (TH) is the first intervention to consistently show improved neurological outcomes in neonates with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Since the recent introduction of TH for HIE in many centres, reviews of practices during the implementation of TH in Canada have not been published.
To determine if eligible neonates are being offered TH and to identify any barriers to the effective implementation of TH.
A retrospective review of neonates referred to a regional tertiary centre at a gestational age of 35 weeks or more with HIE was conducted.
Among 41 neonates referred, 29 (71%) were eligible for TH; among eligible patients, five were moribund and excluded, and TH was initiated in 16 (67%) of the remaining 24. Reasons for not cooling in eight eligible patients included a delay in referral (n=5, median age at referral was 14 h) and a failure to recognize the severity of HIE (n=3). Among cooled patients, median times were the following: 116 min for age at referral; 80 min for time from referral to transport team arrival; and 358 min for age at initiation of cooling. Seven (44%) patients had cooling initiated after 6 h of age.
A significant proportion of eligible patients were not offered TH, and in many cooled patients, initiation of cooling was delayed beyond the recommended 6 h. For eligible patients to benefit from TH, it is imperative that all birthing centres be made aware that TH is now widely available as an important treatment option, but also that TH is a time-sensitive therapy requiring rapid identification and referral. In the region studied, for eligible patients, referring hospitals should initiate passive cooling before arrival of the transport team. Referring hospitals should be prepared to provide early, yet safe initiation of passive cooling by having the appropriate equipment, and having staff trained in the use and monitoring of rectal temperatures.
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy; Infant; Newborn; Therapeutic hypothermia
The objective of this study was to systematically review randomized trials assessing therapeutic hypothermia as a treatment for term neonates with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL databases, reference lists of identified studies, and proceedings of the Pediatric Academic Societies were searched in July 2006. Randomized trials assessing the effect of therapeutic hypothermia by either selective head cooling or whole body cooling in term neonates were eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis. The primary outcome was death or neurodevelopmental disability at ≥ 18 months.
Five trials involving 552 neonates were included in the analysis. Cooling techniques and the definition and severity of neurodevelopmental disability differed between studies. Overall, there is evidence of a significant effect of therapeutic hypothermia on the primary composite outcome of death or disability (RR: 0.78, 95% CI: 0.66, 0.92, NNT: 8, 95% CI: 5, 20) as well as on the single outcomes of mortality (RR: 0.75, 95% CI: 0.59, 0.96) and neurodevelopmental disability at 18 to 22 months (RR: 0.72, 95% CI: 0.53, 0.98). Adverse effects include benign sinus bradycardia (RR: 7.42, 95% CI: 2.52, 21.87) and thrombocytopenia (RR: 1.47, 95% CI: 1.07, 2.03, NNH: 8) without deleterious consequences.
In general, therapeutic hypothermia seems to have a beneficial effect on the outcome of term neonates with moderate to severe hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Despite the methodological differences between trials, wide confidence intervals, and the lack of follow-up data beyond the second year of life, the consistency of the results is encouraging. Further research is necessary to minimize the uncertainty regarding efficacy and safety of any specific technique of cooling for any specific population.
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) remains a significant cause of mortality and long-term disability in late preterm and term infants. Mild therapeutic hypothermia to a rectal temperature of 34±0.5°C initiated as soon as possible within the first 6 h of life decreases mortality and severe long-term neurodevelopmental disabilities in infants with moderate HIE who are ≥36 weeks’ gestational age. There are minimal side effects, and the incidence of disability in survivors is not increased. Infants with severe encephalopathy are less likely to benefit from treatment. Cooling may be achieved by either total body or selective head cooling. As cooling is now considered a standard of care, infants ≥36 weeks’ gestational age who are depressed at birth should be assessed to determine whether they meet the criteria for cooling. There is currently no evidence that therapeutic hypothermia offers any benefit to infants <36 weeks’ gestational age.
Asphyxia; Cooling; Hypothermia; Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy; Outcome