Opioid exposure during therapeutic hypothermia and short-term outcomes in neonatal encephalopathy

Children’s Hospitals Neonatal Database Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy Focus group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the association between opioid exposure during therapeutic hypothermia (TH) for perinatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) and in-hospital outcomes. Study design: In this retrospective cohort study, linked data were accessed on infants ≥36 weeks gestation, who underwent TH for HIE, born from 2010–2016 in 23 Neonatal Intensive Care Units participating in Children’s Hospitals Neonatal Consortium and Pediatric Health Information Systems. We excluded infants who received opioids for >5 days. Results: The cohort (n = 1484) was categorized as No opioid [240(16.2%)], Low opioid (1–2 days) [574 (38.7%)] and High opioid group (HOG, 3–5 days) [670 (45.2%)]. After adjusting for HIE severity, opioids were not associated with abnormal MRI, but were associated with decreased likelihood of complete oral feeds at discharge. HOG had increased likelihood of prolonged hospital stay and ventilation. Conclusion: Opioid exposure during TH was not associated with abnormal MRI; its association with adverse short-term outcomes suggests need for cautious empiric use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1017-1025
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Perinatology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


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