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Therapeutic Whole-Body Hypothermia Program
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Therapeutic Whole-Body Hypothermia Program


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Should complications arise during a delivery, Children’s National Medical Center serves as the regional referral center for whole-body cooling when newborns experience a hypoxic-ischemic (HI) injury. Within hours of your baby’s birth, Children’s neonatal team is with you and your baby to provide in-depth care and attention.

Innovative Care for Our Smallest Patients
Whole body hypothermia provides cerebral (brain) protection for newborns affected by hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). This complication occurs when there is a reduced level of oxygen (hypoxia) or blood flow (ischemia) to the baby's brain or body.

Children’s whole-body cooling places newborns on a water-filled cooling mattress to reduce body temperature to 92F for 3 days, which is long enough to interrupt brain injury. After the 3 days, your baby recovers to a normal body temperature in our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with continuous EEG (electroencephalogram) neuromonitoring.

Children’s cooling program follows the National Institute of Health’s Neonatal Network protocol, which demonstrates a reduction in death or serious disability for infants who develop serious neonatal encephalopathy within 6 hours of birth.

Our Multidisciplinary Team
Under the direction of Billie L. Short, MD, Division Chief, Neonatology, and Taeun Chang, MD, Division of Neurology, Children’s offers whole-body cooling and continuous neurological EEG (electroencephalogram) monitoring during hypothermia and rewarming.

The program team is a collaboration between the divisions of Neonatology, Neurology, and Radiology, with contributions from early child development specialists.

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