Hypotension and Brain Injury in Asphyxiated Newborns Treated with Hypothermia

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This study aimed to assess the incidence of hypotension in asphyxiated newborns treated with hypothermia, the variability in treatments for hypotension, and the impact of hypotension on the pattern of brain injury.

Study Design

We conducted a retrospective cohort study of asphyxiated newborns treated with hypothermia. Mean blood pressures, lactate levels, and inotropic support medications were recorded during the hospitalization. Presence and severity of brain injury were scored using the brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) obtained after the hypothermia treatment was completed.


One hundred and ninety term asphyxiated newborns were treated with hypothermia. Eighty-one percent developed hypotension. Fifty-five percent of the newborns in the hypotensive group developed brain injury compared with 35% of the newborns in the normotensive group (p = 0 . 04). Twenty-nine percent of the newborns in the hypotensive group developed severe brain injury, compared with only 15% in the normotensive group. Nineteen percent of the newborns presenting with volume- and/or catecholamine-resistant hypotension had near-total injury, compared with 6% in the normotensive group and 8% in the group responding to volume and/or catecholamines.


Hypotension was common in asphyxiated newborns treated with hypothermia and was associated with an increased risk of (severe) brain injury in these newborns.

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