Aim: To investigate the characteristics of infants with neonatal encephalopathy (NE) receiving therapeutic hypothermia (TH) who developed late onset oxygen requirement during or after rewarming.
Methods: Infants were stratified by receiving (a) new onset isolated oxygen requirements during or after rewarming; (b) no respiratory support during hospital stay; and (c) invasive and/or non-invasive respiratory support before or during cooling.
Results: Of 136 infants treated with TH, 49 (36%) did not require any respiratory support, and 78 (57.4%) received invasive or non-invasive support before or during cooling. Nine infants (6.6%) developed late onset oxygen requirement. The late onset oxygen requirement started at median age of 3.8 days (IQR 3.6-5.2) and ended at median 7.5 days (IQR 5.8-12.7). Total hours of O2 exposure were median 62.0 (IQR 24.4-112.6). Maximum support was low-flow nasal cannula from 100% oxygen source with a flow rate of 40-250 mL/min. Infants in this group had higher Apgar scores, milder metabolic acidosis and no seizures. Three infants had diagnostic investigations without significant findings.
Conclusion: A small percentage of neonates with NE developed late onset oxygen requirement during or after rewarming. Late oxygen requirement was associated with evidence of less severe perinatal hypoxia-ischaemia.