November 2018

Withdrawal of Life-support in Neonatal HIE

Pediatric Neurology

Lead Author:

Natarajan G

PubMed Link:



Purpose: We describe the frequency and timing of withdrawal of life-support (WLS) in moderate or severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and examine its associations with medical and sociodemographic factors. Procedures: We undertook a secondary data analysis of a prospective multicenter data registry of regional level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Units participating in the Children's Hospitals Neonatal Database. Infants ≥36 weeks gestational age with HIE admitted to a Children's Hospitals Neonatal Database Neonatal Intensive Care Unit between 2010 and 2016, who underwent therapeutic hypothermia were categorized as (1) infants who died following WLST and (2) survivors with severe HIE (requiring tube feedings at discharge). Results: Death occurred in 267/1,925 (14%) infants with HIE, 87.6% following WLS. Compared to infants with WLS (n = 234), the survived severe group (n = 74) had more public insurance (73% vs 39.3%, P = 0.00001), lower household income ($37,020 vs $41,733, P = 0.006) and fewer [20.3% vs 35.0%, P = 0.0212] were from the South. Among infants with WLS, electroencephalogram was performed within 24 hours in 75% and was severely abnormal in 64% cases; corresponding rates for MRI were 43% and 17%, respectively. Private insurance was independently associated with WLS, after adjustment for HIE severity and center. Conclusions: In a multicenter cohort of infants with HIE, WLS occurred frequently and was associated with sociodemographic factors. The rationale for decision-making for WLS in HIE require further exploration.