Brain chilling cap may reduce risk of cerebral palsy

Donald Saiontz

By Donald Saiontz
Posted December 18, 2007


A new technique used by some hospitals in Great Britain may prove to be an important breakthrough in preventing brain damage which could result from a traumatic birth.  A brain chilling cap is used after some deliveries where the birth was delayed or the baby’s brain was deprived of oxygen.  The chilling cap reduces brain swelling which could cause cerebral palsy

The brain chill procedure is done through a helmet-like device which is fitted to the newborns head and connected to a cooling machine.  The device cools the brain following a difficult birth to avoid severe swelling.  It is designed to reduce the risk of permanent brain damage which could lead to cerebral palsy or other life-long disabilities for the child.

Research on the brain chill cap began in 1992.  British pediatriacian, Prof. Marianne Thoresen, started a pilot program in 1998 to test the procedure on some babies born at St. Michael’s Hospital in Bristol UK.

Recently, the UK’s Press Association reported that a brain chilling cap was used with apparent success to prevent cerebral palsy for newborn, Olivia Templar.  Following a traumatic birth in which the baby was deprived of oxygen for approximately 10 minutes, the brain chill cap was used for three days to reduce possible swelling which could have caused permanent brain damage.  According to the baby’s mother, who is attempting to raise money for the more widespread use of the technology, she credits the brain cooling cap for saving her child from suffering a lifelong disability.

Although the brain chilling treatment is not expected to prevent cerebral palsy or brain damage every time it is used, proponents suggest that cooling the baby’s brain may be better than not cooling the brain following a traumatic birth.  Efforts are being made to make parents and doctors more aware of this new technique and to make the technology more widely available.


The cerebral palsy lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. represent children who have suffered an injury as a result of a traumatic birth which was caused by a medical mistake before, during or immediately after delivery.  When a doctor, hospital or medical staff fail to provide the proper standard of medical care, the baby could be deprived of oxygen and suffer a brain injury which causes cerebral palsy.

If you suspect that a child’s cerebral palsy could have been prevented, request a free birth injury lawsuit evaluation.

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