${site.data.firmName}${SEMFirmNameAlt}A founding member of BILA bila
Law, justice and Compassion Call Today
1-877-848-9545 604-484-1938

Therapeutic Hypothermia for HIE

baby.jpgHypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a condition that occurs when an infant's brain is deprived of oxygen. It is a significant cause of mortality and long-term disability in infants. HIE is usually described as mild, moderate, or severe, and risk of cognitive impairment and disability is associated with the severity of the condition.

Oxygen deprivation resulting in HIE typically occurs in the perinatal period - that is, just before, during or shortly after delivery. Cord compression, placental abruption, and uterine rupture are all potential causes of oxygen deprivation leading to HIE.

Cooling Treatment for HIE

Cooling treatment - known as neonatal therapeutic hypothermia - is a relatively new option for treating HIE. It involves reducing the infant's total body temperature by 2-3 degrees Celsius, resulting in modest hypothermia. The treatment works by reducing the brain's use of energy, which slows disease progression and reduces the chances of the infant suffering from severe brain damage. Research suggests that therapeutic hypothermia is safe and provides long-term protection for the brain.

To meet the criteria for this treatment, infants must be at least 36 weeks' gestation. The infant must be less than 6 hours old to start cooling treatment. After 6 hours of age, cooling does not provide the same level of protection. Infants may not be eligible for the treatment if they have certain congenital abnormalities or if they have a very low birth weight.

There are two main methods of cooling the infant - whole body cooling and selective head cooling. The type of cooling employed depends on the hospital, but both methods have been shown to be safe and effective in bringing core body temperature down to therapeutic levels. Rewarming begins after 72 hours of cooling, and serial monitoring of the infant's core temperature is important to prevent overheating.

HIE is a condition that has severe consequences if left untreated. Over the past decades, therapeutic hypothermia has emerged as an effective treatment option. Further research is still needed to increase understanding of the progression of HIE, identify adjunct treatments, and develop more precise ways of predicting long-term outcomes. The use of therapeutic hypothermia can be expected to be more widely used as the process is perfected, with more infants benefiting from its use.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

How can We Help You?

Contact US

Our Office Location

Pacific Medical Law
401 W. Georgia Street
Suite 905 B
Vancouver, BC V6B 5A1

Toll Free: 877-848-9545
Phone: 604-484-1938
Map & Directions