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Mild Hypothermia after Severe Transient Hypoxia-Ischemia Ameliorates Delayed Cerebral Energy Failure in the Newborn Piglet


ABSTRACT: Severely birth-asphyxiated human infants develop delayed (“secondary”) cerebral energy failure, which carries a poor prognosis, during the first few days of life. This study tested the hypothesis that mild hypothermia after severe transient cerebral hypoxia-ischemia decreases the severity of delayed energy failure in the newborn piglet. Six piglets underwent temporary occlusion of the common carotid arteries and hypoxemia. Resuscitation was started when cerebral [phosphocreatine (PCr)]/ [inorganic phosphate (Pi)] as determined by phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy had fallen almost to zero and [nucleotide triphosphate (NTP)]/[exchangeable phosphate pool (EPP)] had fallen below about 30% of baseline. Rectal and tympanic temperatures were then reduced to 35°C for 12 h after which normothermia (38.5°C) was resumed. Spectroscopy results over the next 64 h were compared with previously established data from 12 piglets similarly subjected to transient cerebral hypoxia-ischemia, but maintained normothermic, and six sham-operated controls.

The mean severity of the primary insult (judged by the time integral of depletion of [NTP]/[EPP]) was similar in the hypothermic and normothermic groups. In the normothermic group, [PCr]/[Pi] and [NTP]/[EPP] recovered after the acute insult and then fell again. Minimum values for these variables observed between 24 and 48 h were significantly higher in the hypothermic group and not significantly different from the control values (p < 0.05, analysis of variance). A large reduction in secondary energy failure relative to the extent of the primary insult was shown and no further fall in either [PCr]/[Pi] or [NTP]/[EPP] took place up to 64 h in the hypothermic piglets. We conclude that mild hypothermia after a severe acute cerebral hypoxicischemic insult ameliorated delayed energy failure.

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Thoresen, M., Penrice, J., Lorek, A. et al. Mild Hypothermia after Severe Transient Hypoxia-Ischemia Ameliorates Delayed Cerebral Energy Failure in the Newborn Piglet. Pediatr Res 37, 667–670 (1995).

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