Study clarifies impact of therapeutic hypothermia on outcomes in neonatal encephalopathy

Specialists have reported new findings on the effect of therapeutic hypothermia and pattern of injury in neonatal encephalopathy on neurodevelopmental outcomes at 1-2 years.

Dr Ashley Bach from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, reported study findings involving a prospective cohort of 434 term newborns with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which affects 1.5 per 1,000 live births.

About 25% of surviving children show neurodevelopmental sequelae, and therapeutic hypothermia has been shown to improve neurodevelopmental outcomes after HIE.

Dr Bach and colleagues evaluated the association of therapeutic hypothermia and MRI findings with neurodevelopment, and assessed how therapeutic hypothermia alters the predictive value of abnormality on MRI for outcomes.

The cohort, recruited in 1993-2017, underwent diffusion-weighted MRI at a median 4 days of life (with injury patterns classified as normal, watershed, or basal ganglia/thalamus), and neurodevelopmental testing at a median of 30 months. The testing involved assessments of cognitive and motor outcomes, using Bayley-II/III scores.