Can Cooling Therapy Prevent Brain Injuries in Infants?

birth injury, cooling therapy

In this article, we’ll share information about cooling therapy – a fairly simple and relatively inexpensive way to treat infants  who experience a lack of oxygen, reducing their chances of developing severe brain damage.

What is Cooling Therapy?

Known in medical circles as neonatal therapeutic hypothermia, cooling therapy is treatment in which a newborn’s body temperature is reduced just after birth.

The treatment is based upon medical observations of people who are injured when they’re cold and often experience fewer negative outcomes and even healed easier.

Why is Cooling Therapy Used to Treat Lack of Oxygen in Infants?

Cooling therapy is used to treat infants who experience hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), a lack of oxygen to the brain that can lead to cerebral palsy. The lack of oxygen can be the result of blood loss or a host of other complications.

Is There Proof That Cooling Therapy Works?

Findings reported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development confirmed that reducing the body temperature of infants to about 92 degrees in the first six (6) hours since delivery can reduce the likelihood of developing brain injury or even dying.

How Does Cooling Therapy Work?

Essentially, cooling therapy involves placing the infant on a soft, plastic blanket through which cool water circulates. After about 72 hours (3 days), the infant is slowly warmed back to normal body temperature.

Dr. Geraldine Boylan, professor of neonatal physiology at the University of College Cork, said that cooling therapy doesn’t work for all infants who experience a lack of oxygen.

“It (cooling therapy) works very well for babies who have a moderate disruption of oxygen during delivery, but not we well for babies who are severely deprived,” she said.

What Can Lead to Loss of Oxygen in Infants?

HIE can be caused by a host of actions or inactions, including:

  • Mismanagement of the vital signs of the mother and infant
  • Delayed delivery or failure to perform a cesarean section delivery
  • Complications with the umbilical cord or the infant’s size or position

If Your Child Experienced a Birth Injury, Call The Fitzgerald Law Firm

If medical malpractice led to your child experiencing a birth injury, our attorneys want to speak with you. To learn more about HIE or to schedule a free initial appointment, call us here at The Fitzgerald Law Firm; our number is 800-323-9900.