What is Neonatal Cooling?
Infants who experience oxygen deprivation during delivery are at risk of suffering a brain injury. Neonatal cooling treatment is also referred to as hypothermia therapy or head cooling. It is used to keep a baby's head or body temperature at 91 to 93 degrees for three days following birth to prevent brain cell death from oxygen deprivation, acidosis, and the body’s reaction to that highly stressful situation. Therapy should begin approximately within 6 hours of delivery. Head cooling treatment should be administered quickly following birth asphyxia as brain cell death can occur within hours or days after birth.
Read on to learn more about how neonatal cooling can reduce brain injury risks in infants.
How Does Neonatal Cooling Work?
Neonatal cooling involves a head cooling cap, or sometimes a cooling blanket, on which the newborn is placed to achieve the proper temperature to decrease the newborn’s metabolic rate, which results in less cellular damage as a result of the acidosis and resultant metabolic abnormalities.
What are the Benefits of Neonatal Cooling?
Neonatal cooling can have the following benefits:
- Delay the death of brain cells that were damaged by lack of oxygen and exposure to the body’s response to acidosis.
- Reduce the effects of excitotoxicity (the death of brain cells due to increased neurotransmitter levels).
- Prevent apoptosis (programmed cell death in which the body rids cells that have been damaged beyond repair). A hypoxic-anoxic brain injury (HIE) can trigger apoptosis.
- Unfortunately, while neonatal cooling can have profound benefits, studies reveal that newborns who were exposed to an acidotic intrauterine environment still have emotional and cognitive issues.
Slowing down and preventing brain cell death or damage can limit the severity of birth injuries such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which can pose devastating and life-altering consequences.
How to Get Help If Your Baby Suffered a Birth Injury
Learning your baby has suffered a birth injury is devastating news, especially when it could have been prevented. When medical professionals fail to exercise their duty of care, the result can be a severe or fatal birth injury.
You have the right to hold the responsible parties accountable for their negligent actions. Our attorneys at The Beasley Firm, LLC have decades of experience representing mothers and their babies who've suffered a birth injury. We've secured record-breaking settlements and verdicts on behalf of our clients, and we want to help you too.
Contact our medical malpractice attorneys at (215) 866-2424 for a free consultation.