Saturday, October 15, 2005
Chilling a newborn's entire body can help prevent or reduce brain damage caused by lack of oxygen during difficult births, research suggests.
...Newborns were randomly assigned to get usual care or the hypothermia treatment. It involves placing the babies on a special blanket containing chilled water that lowers their temperature to 92.3 degrees for three days, then gradually rewarms them back to normal, around 98.6 degrees.
Babies were evaluated 18 to 22 months later.
Death or significant disability, such as cerebral palsy, occurred in only 45 of the 102 infants whose bodies were cooled, compared with 64 of the 103 babies who received normal care.
No significant side effects, such as heart rhythm problems, occurred with the treatment.
Here's the paper:
Adverse events were similar in the two groups during the 72 hours of cooling.
...Death or moderate or severe disability occurred in 45 of 102 infants (44 percent) in the hypothermia group and 64 of 103 infants (62 percent) in the control group
...Twenty-four infants (24 percent) in the hypothermia group and 38 (37 percent) in the control group died
... There was no increase in major disability among survivors; the rate of cerebral palsy was 15 of 77 (19 percent) in the hypothermia group as compared with 19 of 64 (30 percent) in the control group.
It certainly seems promising, although it's clearly not a cure for cerebral palsy.
UPDATE: From an ob/gyn:
You're absolutely right about chilling not being a cure for cerebral palsy, given that most cerebral palsy cases are unrelated to birth events.
Exactly. Which is probably why there wasn't much difference in cerebral palsy rates between the treated and untreated babies, but there was a striking difference in the rate of severe disabilities.
posted by Sydney on 10/15/2005 08:04:00 PM 0 comments