Olympic Cool-Cap system

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The Olympic Cool-Cap system is a helmet designed to provide hypothermia therapy for neonatal encephalopathy caused by hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE),[1] preventing cerebral palsy in babies born with little or no oxygen.[2]

The device works by a steady flow of water at a selected temperature through a cap covering the infant's head to cool the brain[1] within the first six hours of life.[3] By cooling the brain, cell metabolism is slowed which prevents toxins from injured cells from spreading to other parts of the brain.[4]


Investigations into neonatal hypoxic-ischemic cerebral injury in the period from 2000 to 2006 made it clear that for a group of high risk babies a slight temperature reduction could provide a significant reduction in brain injury.[5][6] By 2007 reviewers found that cooling was a safe and effective intervention.[7] Some doubt remained as to whether it was warranted in cases of asphyxiation, but by 2009 reviewers found that it reduced the occurrence of severe neurological problems.[8]


The device was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in late 2006[1][9] and hailed as "bring[ing] new hope to parents of the approximately 5,000 to 9,000 babies each year who are born in the United States with moderate to severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy".[1]

It is also used in the United Kingdom, where it treats 1,000 babies per year.[10]

Cooling is currently the only tool doctors can use to prevent neurological disorders caused by hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.[4]


Although doubt remains about the effectiveness of the Cool-Cap system on patients undergoing chemotherapy using Epirubicin and Docetaxel, studies suggest there is statistically significant, but marginal, decrease in hair loss in study participants.[11]

Side effects[edit]

In tests, minor cardiac arrhythmias occurred slightly more often in cooled infants, however the effect was not unexpected because mild sinus bradycardia is known to be associated with hypothermia. In tests, all cases were resolved with appropriate therapy. The Cool-Cap system also increased the incidence of scalp edema; however, all cases were resolved prior to or after completion of treatment.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d "Cool-Cap System Gets FDA Nod". Medgadget.com. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  2. ^ "Cool-Cap System — Children's Hospital — Scott & White — Central Texas". Sw.org. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  3. ^ "Natus Medical Incorporated — Newborn Brain Injury — Cool Cap System". Natus.com. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  4. ^ a b "Miracle baby survives 20 minutes without oxygen — Phoenix Arizona news, breaking news, local news, weather radar, traffic from ABC15 News". ABC15.com. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  5. ^ Berger; Garnier, Y. (2000). "Perinatal brain injury". Journal of perinatal medicine 28 (4): 261–285. doi:10.1515/JPM.2000.034. PMID 11031697.  edit
  6. ^ Perlman (2006). "Intervention strategies for neonatal hypoxic-ischemic cerebral injury". Clinical therapeutics 28 (9): 1353–1365. doi:10.1016/j.clinthera.2006.09.005. PMID 17062309.  edit
  7. ^ Shah, P. S.; Ohlsson, A.; Perlman, M. (2007). "Hypothermia to treat neonatal hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy: systematic review". Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine 161 (10): 951–958. doi:10.1001/archpedi.161.10.951. PMID 17909138.  edit
  8. ^ Azzopardi, D. V.; Strohm, B.; Edwards, A. D.; Dyet, L.; Halliday, H. L.; Juszczak, E.; Kapellou, O.; Levene, M.; Marlow, N.; Porter, E.; Thoresen, M.; Whitelaw, A.; Brocklehurst, P.; Toby Study, G. (2009). "Moderate hypothermia to treat perinatal asphyxial encephalopathy". The New England Journal of Medicine 361 (14): 1349–1358. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa0900854. PMID 19797281.  edit
  9. ^ "FDA Approves Novel Device That Prevents or Reduces Brain Damage in Infants". Fda.gov. Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  10. ^ Jeremy Laurance (2009-10-09). "Cooling 'cure' averts infant brain damage". The Independent (UK). 
  11. ^ MacDuff; MacKenzie, T.; Hutcheon, A.; Melville, L.; Archibald, H. (2003). "The effectiveness of scalp cooling in preventing alopecia for patients receiving epirubicin and docetaxel". European journal of cancer care 12 (2): 154–161. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2354.2003.00382.x. PMID 12787013.  edit
  12. ^ Waknine, Yael (January 3, 2006). "FDA Approvals: Olympic Cool-Cap, Spanner Stent, CellSearch System". MedscapeCME. Retrieved October 8, 2009.