Potential Complications and Risk Factors Associated with Therapeutic Hypothermia
Therapeutic hypothermia (TH) has become widely accepted as the standard of care for the treatment of term or near-term newborn babies with moderate to severe hypoxic injury (HI) who meet the inclusion criteria. Several randomized controlled trials and systematic analyses have been published which show benefit in this patient population, with a reduction in mortality and improvement in neurodevelopmental outcomes at 18 to 24 months1. The research demonstrated references to both high and low-tech methods to induce therapeutic hypothermia, which include both selectively head cooling or whole-body hypothermia using servo controlled and manual cooling technologies.
As more neonatal care facilities start to offer whole body cooling, there is a growing importance to understand the physiological effects of hypothermia on the cooled infant, the effect on medications administered under lower core body temperature, and the serious side effects that might occur during the process of induction of cooling, maintenance of low core body temperatures and later re-warming of patients.