What is Neonatal Brain Cooling?

Baby in hospital bassinet with a nurse holding its head.

Can Neonatal Brain Cooling Reduce the Risk of Birth Injuries?

Brain cooling therapy, also known as therapeutic hypothermia, is a relatively new treatment. It's used to prevent further complications after a traumatic delivery. The process of neonatal cooling involves placing a head cap that circulates cold water to decrease the baby's temperature. This process can help slow the death of brain cells after a baby has experienced a lack of oxygen during the birthing process. Learn how neonatal brain cooling can help prevent a birth injury.

Types of Birth Injuries That Can Be Prevented With Neonatal Brain Cooling

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is one of the most common birth injuries caused by oxygen deprivation and limited blood flow to the brain during birth. The consequences of HIE can pose permanent brain damage, cerebral palsy, or infant death.

The one clear benefit of neonatal head cooling is that it can save a baby's life and help reduce the risk of a baby suffering a severe birth injury. However, there are guidelines that doctors must follow when it's safe to use neonatal brain cooling on a newborn. For example, brain cooling for infants under 35 weeks of gestational age isn't recommended. After neonatal brain cooling, a baby's temperature should be monitored closely. Not following recommended guidelines can lead to complications.

Are There Side-Effects from Neonatal Brain Cooling?

The benefits of brain cooling therapy, when needed to prevent a birth injury, can outweigh the risks. When done correctly, it is an effective treatment. However, the following are some side effects that can impact a baby's recovery from the treatment:

  • Cardiovascular complications (decrease in heart rate, hypotension, ventricular arrhythmias)
  • Respiratory complications (pulmonary hypertension)
  • Electrolyte imbalance (decrease in sodium, calcium, potassium)
  • Coagulopathy (blood's ability to clot is impaired)
  • Increase in risk of sepsis (tissue damage, organ failure)
  • Delayed gastric emptying (stomach is unable to empty even though there is no blockage)

There is an increased risk of seizures, hypotension, and apnea during a baby's rewarming.

Getting Help After Your Baby Suffered a Birth Injury

When an unexpected event happens during childbirth and a baby suffers a birth injury, it is a devastating experience. Not only do parents worry about the future of their child's life, but the financial burdens can also be overwhelming when it comes to long-term care. When negligent medical professionals provide substandard care and cause harm to a baby, our team of birth injury lawyers is ready to hold them accountable for their actions. If your child suffered a birth injury, we are prepared to answer your questions, explain your legal options, and fight to protect your rights.

Learn if you are eligible to obtain financial compensation for your losses. Schedule a consultation with an attorney at Grewal Law PLLC by calling (888) 211-5798 today.

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