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Gonçalves-Ferri WA, Ferreira CHF, Couto LCA, Souza TR, de Castro Peres T, Carmona F, Aragon DC, Crott G, Mussi-Pinhata MM, Junior JSC, Roosch A, Neto LS. Low technology, mild controlled hypothermia for necrotizing enterocolitis treatment: an initiative to improve healthcare to preterm neonates. Eur J Pediatr. 2021 Apr 24. doi: 10.1007/s00431-021-04014-1. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33895856.

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) treatment remains unchanged for years. Data suggest that mild controlled hypothermia could potentially improve NEC outcomes. Our units presented unfavourable outcomes on NEC. The aim was to assess our experience with low technology, mild controlled hypothermia on NEC outcomes, and improve preterm infants’ healthcare. This was a single-center quality improvement study with retrospective cohort design at the neonatal intensive care unit in the university hospital. Forty-three preterm infants with NEC (Modified Bell’s Stage II/III) were included: 19 in the control group (2015-2018) and 24 in the hypothermia group (2018-2020). The control group received standard treatment (fasting, abdominal decompression, and broad-spectrum antibiotics). The hypothermia group underwent cooling to 35.5 °C for 48 h after NEC diagnosis, along with conventional treatment. The primary outcomes are intestinal perforation, need for surgery, duration of parenteral nutrition, death, and extensive resection of the small intestine. There was no statistical difference in the NEC score. The hypothermia group required less surgery (aRR 0.40; 95% CI 0.19-0.85), presented less bowel perforation (aRR 0.39; 95% CI 0.18; 0.83), had a shorter duration of parenteral nutrition (aHR 5.28; 95% CI 1.88-14.89), did not need extensive intestinal resection, (0 vs 15.7%), and did not experience any deaths (0 vs 31.6%).Conclusions: In our experience, low technology, mild controlled hypothermia was feasible, not related to adverse effects, and effective treatment for NEC Modified Bell’s Stage II/III. It avoided surgery, bowel perforation, and extensive intestinal resection; reduced mortality; and shortened parenteral nutrition duration. What is Known: • New approaches have been proposed to avoid enterocolitis incidence; however, the treatment of enterocolitis stage 2 has been the same for decades, and unfavourable outcomes remain despite conventional management. • Studies suggest that hypothermia can be an alternative to enterocolitis treatment. What is New: • Mild controlled hypothermia can be an additional practice to treat enterocolitis stage 2, is feasible, and is not related to adverse effects to preterm infants. • It can decrease surgery needs, duration of parenteral nutrition, and death and avoids extensive intestinal resection in preterm infants.

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