Birth asphyxia is a major cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Certain complications during birth, like twisting of the cord around the baby’s neck or large size of the baby can cut the oxygen and blood supply to the infant’s system. When the brain is cooled using hypothermia treatment, it prevents further damage. Brain cooling initiated within 6 hours and maintained for 72 hours after an asphyxial insult has been shown to reduce mortality and morbidity among newborn survivors of perinatal asphyxia.
Doctors from the Neonatology Department at Indiana hospital have taken the lead by introducing a new modality of saving newborns from death and mental retardation through cooling (hypothermia).
A term baby born out of difficult extraction through a normal delivery did not cry at birth & had poor activity due to hypoxic brain damage. Baby was subjected to therapeutic whole body cooling & was continuously monitored for 72 hours. Following this, baby was successfully recovered & was discharged after 2 days with no significant neurological deficit.
“The reduced temperature helps reprogramme the cells and minimise cell death. When the need for oxygen, glucose and blood come down, the nerve cells in the brain are protected” Says neonatologist, Dr. Abhishek Phadke
This method has been widely practiced & has shown good results.This feasibility trial in a developing country using low cost techniques with careful monitoring of temperature establishes that this neuro-protective strategy can be achieved safely and at an affordable cost.
Dr. Abhishek Phadke
MBBS, DNB (Pediatrics), FIAP( Neonatology)