1 (440) 442-6677


Get Legal Help

Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

Learn More

Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

Get Your Free Guide Now
Get a Free Case Evaluation

Therapeutic Hypothermia - Head Cooling

Treatment of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, HIE has typically centered on medications to prevent seizures and to stabilize blood pressure and other functions. Over the last decade, a new treatment has been found to be helpful.

Get A 100% Free CASE Evaluation     

Therapeutic hypothermia, or cooling therapy, cools the body’s temperature to help reduce the severity of brain damage in some infants. Head cooling may have the potential to help some babies, particularly those with mild cases of HIE.

Therapeutic Value of Head Cooling

Elk & Elk

Head cooling has been found to be therapeutic for infants with mild to moderate brain damage due to HIE. When an infant suffers oxygen deprivation brain damage occurs in two distinct phases. Phase one occurs immediately when there is a lack of oxygen. Brain cells begin to die. As the cells die, they produce a substance that is toxic. This enzyme is what causes the second phase of damage. Once oxygen is restored the brain begins to function again. However, it still has the enzyme substance in it.

The brain can become further damaged by these enzymes over the course of the next several days. The enzyme causes more cells to die and thus phase two of the problem can be even more severe than the initial damage. It has been found that these toxic enzymes begin to start killing brain cells starting at about 6 hours after the initial injury and may continue for a few days.

If a newborn with mild to moderate HIE from lack of oxygen receives cooling treatment during phase two, it may prevent or reduce the secondary brain cell death. This can improve the neurological outcome for a child and can help reduce the incidence of death. Those who received cooling treatment are more likely to have improved outcomes than those who did not receive this therapy. The full extent of neurological damage may not be known until the child is older and begins missing developmental milestones.

How It Works

Currently, the only head cooling device for HIE infant care that is approved by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) is the Olympic Cool-Cap System. It is able to selectively cool the brain while maintaining the infant’s core temperature at safe levels. There have been found to be some clinical benefits to therapeutic hypothermia.

  • Provides protection to the brain while reducing the potential side-effects of whole-body cooling
  • Allows the infant’s core temperature to stay at a safe level
  • Offers the potential for neuro-developmental improvements over the first 18 months of life
  • Early treatment provides Improved outcomes for newborns

The cool cap consists of several layers including the water cap, retainer, and outer cap. The water cap using cooled water that circulates in channels to keep the temperature controlled at a specific level. The retainer fits over the water cap to hold it in place. Finally, the insulated outer cap fits over the other pieces to hold the temperature properly inside and keep the outside temperature from impacting the therapy.

A control unit is provided that allows the medical team to administer and monitor treatment. The unit has a touchscreen and readout to display important medical information. The monitor provides continuous temperature displays and alarms to alert of any significant changes. Additional sensors may be utilized that provide more details during care.