Recent research indicates that the outcome of perinatal hypoxia-ischaemia can be improved by hypothermia. This was actually first observed about 40 years ago, as discussed in this article. Clinical application of whole-body hypothermia in the asphyxiated neonate showed a positive effect. Reference is made to previous review articles on the subject. A large experimental study indicated that the degree of protection against hypoxic-ischaemic damage, as judged by the conditioned avoidance response, was dependent on the fall in body temperature. The earlier reported resistance against hypothermia in the asphyxiated neonate is discussed and analysed.
Conclusion: Experimental and clinical evidence suggest that hypothermia may be of value in resuscitation of the neonate.