If a baby has experienced a lack of oxygen during birth, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) can result in irreversible brain damage. A common therapy called therapeutic hypothermia (cooling) can be done directly after a birth in which asphyxia has occurred.
While many studies have focused on the benefit of cooling in cases with moderate to severe HIE, there is a lack of evidence that cooling therapy can also help those with mild HIE. Despite this lack of evidence, many places still routinely use this therapy.
A recent study published in ADC Fetal and Neonatal suggests that therapeutic hypothermia results in lower metabolic brain injury in patients with mild HIE, but only when started within 6 hours of birth.
The researchers make sure to state “Although our study suggests a possible therapeutic benefit of cooling in mild HIE, caution is needed before drawing definitive conclusions, and a clinical decision to cool should not be taken lightly," (Montaldo et al, 2019).
If you suspect your baby was injured as a result of head cooling or a medical mistake created the need for head cooling treatment, it’s important you seek help from a trusted birth injury attorney. The legal team at Holton Law Firm is ready to advocate for you and your baby, and we invite you to review our free guide, Answers to Parents’ Questions About Birth Injuries.