Commentary

Letter to the Editor: Therapeutic hypothermia for newborns


 

“PROTECTING THE NEWBORN BRAIN—THE FINAL FRONTIER IN OBSTETRIC AND NEONATAL CARE”

ROBERT L. BARBIERI, MD (AUGUST 2016)


Therapeutic hypothermia

I practice in a small community hospital without a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). We have always paid attention to warming neonates. Although we cannot start neonatal therapeutic hypothermia, as Dr. Barbieri discusses in his August Editorial, would there be any benefit to avoiding purposefully warming infants who are depressed at birth? NICU care requires a pediatric transport team, which takes at least an hour to arrive.

Jane Dawson, MD
Maryville, Missouri

Dr. Barbieri responds

I thank Dr. Dawson for her observations and query. I agree that at a hospital without a NICU, pending the arrival of a pediatric transport team, clinicians should strive to prevent hyperthermia in a newborn with encephalopathy because hyperthermia might exacerbate the ischemic injury. It may make sense to avoid aggressive warming of the newborn to permit the core temperature to decrease in order to begin the hypothermia process.

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