What is Cooling Treatment

What is Cooling Treatment

If a baby has been identified as needing cooling treatment, the cooling process will be started as soon as possible. Depending on where the baby is born, this may be done by undressing the baby and the use of other simple measures such as fans. This is known as passive cooling. The baby’s temperature and condition will be closely monitored throughout this time. Although all hospitals will be able to start cooling a baby, if your baby is not already in a regional NICU, then it will be necessary to transfer the baby as ongoing care needs to be provided in a specialist centre. During transport or upon arrival in the NICU, the baby will be placed onto a special cooling mattress or wrapped in a cooling wrap; this is known as active cooling. This treatment will be in addition to the standard intensive care support the baby may need.

When a baby is cooled their whole body temperature is reduced from the normal body temperature of 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) to 33.5 degrees Celsius (92 degrees Fahrenheit). The wrap or mattress is filled with fluid that can be cooled or warmed according to your baby’s needs. The baby’s temperature will be monitored closely to ensure that it stays at the target temperature of 33.5 degrees Celsius (92 degrees Fahrenheit). Your baby’s temperature will usually be maintained at the optimal level for 72 hours (3 days) before the gradual re-warming process occurs. Your baby’s doctors may decide to stop cooling early if they consider this to be the best treatment for your baby.

The team caring for your baby will take measures to ensure the baby is comfortable. This may include reducing the levels of light and sound around your baby, or administering pain relief if it is felt that this is required.

  • Have their temperature continously monitored
  • Have their heart rate and blood pressure monitored
  • Receive intravenous (through a vein) fluids until they are re-warmed
  • Have standard blood tests
  • Have their brain activity monitored using a Cerebral Function Monitor (CFM)
  • Be given medicines for pain, seizures and to maintain their blood pressure
  • Have further blood samples taken for other laboratory tests
  • Need to be supported on a breathing machine
  • Have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan