Study finds moderate hypothermia a safe treatment for traumatic brain injury in kids

A first-of-its-kind multi-center trial has shown that cooling the body can have positive affects on children who suffered traumatic brain injury.

The study's lead investigator, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh neurosurgeon P. David Adelson, MD, and fellow researchers determined that induced moderate hypothermia initiated after severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a safe therapeutic intervention for children.

TBI initiates several metabolic processes that can exacerbate the injury. Adult research has produced evidence that hypothermia may limit some of these deleterious metabolic responses.

The trial, which is the only multi-center clinical trial involving children underway in the United States, was conducted to determine whether moderate hypothermia (3233 degrees Celsius) begun in the early period after severe TBI and maintained for 48 hours is safe compared with normal body temperature (36.537.5 degrees Celsius). By inducing hypothermia in pediatric patients down to 32 degrees Celsius, doctors found that hypothermia tended to reduce mortality, lower the severity of intracranial hypertension during the cooling phase and has the potential to improve the functional outcome of young patients.

Therefore, it was determined that hypothermia is likely a safe therapeutic intervention for children after severe TBI up to 24 hours after injury

Study results are published in the April issue of the journal, Neurosurgery. A total of 75 patients were involved in the trial, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

"Traumatic brain injury causes more children's deaths in this country than all other causes of death combined," said Dr. Adelson, who is the director of the Pediatric Neurotrauma Center at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. "There is no one thing that can effectively treat all cases of traumatic brain injury, but our hope is that with the cooling from hypothermia, we may block or slow down the brain's dele

Contact: Melanie Finnigan
Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh

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