Therapeutic hypothermia has been shown to reduce death and disability at 18 months of age in babies with hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy and improve neuro- developmental outcomes in survivors. We wanted to survey the current provision for this service across the UK to identify availability and usage of different modalities of cooling and their pros and cons. A survey questionnaire was sent via e-mail to 79 clinicians based in established cooling centres participating in TOBY register in UK and Ireland in March 2012. 50 clinicians completed the survey.
Most clinicians reported using it for up to 2 babies a month (72%), some were using it for 2–5 babies per month (24%) and a very small minority were using it for > 5 babies per month (4%). This would reflect the usage in most NICUs across the UK and would be helpful for resource planning.
There is a trend towards adoption of servo controlled cooling equipment with time. Up to 70% respondents reported using non servo controlled equipment in the past but only 22% reported using it presently.
It is encouraging to see that this new treatment had already been offered in many cooling centres in UK with emerging evidence from large randomised international studies before the NICE guidelines recommended it as a standard of care. Almost all clinicians would prefer to use the servo-controlled method due to user friendliness for nursing staff, safety and efficacy.