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Therapeutic Hypothermia

Sometimes a baby doesn't get enough oxygen due to asphyxia, stroke or other stresses before or during birth. This is known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE may cause serious injury to the brain. Full- and near-term babies who have experienced HIE may be treated with therapeutic hypothermia. Also known as body cooling, this treatment is may help to protect the baby's brain and in some cases reduce disability, and even save lives.

How it works

Your baby is placed on a temperature controlled blanket to cool body temperature to 33℃ to 34℃ (that's about 92℉), this is three to four degrees cooler than normal temperature. Your baby's body temperature is cooled for three days (72 hours). This body-cooling process is called medically induced hypothermia and must be started within six hours of birth. Babies born earlier than 35 weeks gestation are not eligible for this treatment.

We continuously record brain wave activity before and during the cooling. The brain monitor provides real-time information about the infant's brain function and continuously measures the brain's electrical activity, and helps identify seizure activity.

After 72 hours your baby's body temperature is slowly rewarmed at about 0.5℃ per hour.

Do you have a high-risk pregnancy?

If you are an expectant parent with a high-risk pregnancy, talk to your doctor about the possibility that your baby may require body cooling therapy at birth.


If you are a physician and you would like us to attend a high-risk delivery or to arrange an urgent transfer to our unit, contact our Teddy Bear Transport team at 1-800-KID-HURT (1-800-543-4878). Cook Children's Teddy Bear Transport is one of just a few transport teams in the country that initiates active cooling on transport.

We're here to help.

If you are interested in scheduling a tour of our NICU, please call 682-885-4375. You can find information on how to refer a patient or other NICU contact information here.