Therapeutic hypothermia is recommended for moderate and severe neonatal encephalopathy, but is being applied to a wider range of neonates than originally envisaged. To examine the clinical use of therapeutic hypothermia, data collected during the first 3 years (2012-2014) of the Baby Cooling Registry of Japan were analysed. Of 485 cooled neonates, 96.5% were =36 weeks gestation and 99.4% weighed =1,800 g. Severe acidosis (pH < 7 or base deficit =16 mmol/L) was present in 68.9%, and 96.7% required resuscitation for >10 min. Stage II/III encephalopathy was evident in 88.3%; hypotonia, seizures and abnormal amplitude-integrated electroencephalogram were observed in the majority of the remainder. In-hospital mortality was 2.7%; 90.7% were discharged home. Apgar scores and severity of acidosis/encephalopathy did not change over time. The time to reach the target temperature was shorter in 2014 than in 2012. The proportion undergoing whole-body cooling rose from 45.4% to 81.6%, while selective head cooling fell over time. Mortality, duration of mechanical ventilation and requirement for tube feeding at discharge remained unchanged. Adherence to standard cooling protocols was high throughout, with a consistent trend towards cooling being achieved more promptly. The mortality rate of cooled neonates was considerably lower than that reported in previous studies.
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