Practice Variations for Therapeutic Hypothermia in Neonates with Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy: An International Survey.

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate variations in management of therapeutic hypothermia (TH) for neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) among international clinical sites and to identify areas for harmonization.

STUDY DESIGN: An electronic survey was sent to Children's Hospitals Neonatal Consortium site sponsors, Canadian Neonatal Network site investigators, members of the Newborn Brain Society, and American Academy of Pediatrics Neonatology chiefs.

RESULTS: 105 sites responded, with most from high-income regions (n=95). Groupings were adapted from the United Nations regional groups: United States (US, n=52 sites); Canada (n=20); Western Europe and other states excluding Canada and US Group (WEOG, n=18); and non-WEOG (central and eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Caribbean, n=15). Regional variations were seen in the eligibility criteria for TH, such as the minimum gestational age, grading of HIE severity, use of electroencephalography (EEG), and the frequency of providing TH for mild HIE. Active TH during transport varied among regions and was less likely in smaller volume sites. Amplitude-integrated (aEEG) and/or continuous EEG (cEEG) to determine eligibility for TH was used by most sites in WEOG and non-WEOG, but infrequently by the US and Canada Groups. For sedation during TH, morphine was most frequently used as first choice but there was relatively high (33%) use of dexmedetomidine in the US Group. Timing of brain MRI and neurodevelopmental follow-up (NDFU) were variable. NDFU occurred earlier and more frequently, although for a shorter duration, in the non-WEOG.

CONCLUSIONS: We found significant variations in practices for TH for HIE across regions internationally. Future guidelines should incorporate resource availability in a global perspective.

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The Journal of pediatrics

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online ahead of print

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