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Neonatal Encephalopathy Guidelines

By the AMC PSO

Related to: Clinical Guidelines, Emergency Medicine, Primary Care, Medication, Nursing, Obstetrics


| Task Force | Disclaimer Statement | Download |

Overview: Neonatal Encephalopathy Task Force Recommendations on Therapeutic Hypothermia

In 2014, at the behest of its membership, the Academic Medical Center Patient Safety Organization (AMC PSO) convened a Neonatal Encephalopathy Task Force to arrive at a set of consensus-based guidelines for the most effective use of therapeutic hypothermia in cases of suspected neonatal encephalopathy. With an expanding set of patients for whom this therapy may be applicable, the AMC PSO sought to build a set of literature-supported recommendations.

The Task Force began with a review of the latest scientific evidence, guidance, and opinion statements from relevant professional societies on the appropriate and effective use of therapeutic hypothermia for neonates presenting with symptoms of encephalopathy. That review was based on guidelines from the 2014 joint Task Force Report on Neonatal Encephalopathy and Neurologic Outcome by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Further insights were gathered from AMC PSO member subject matter experts in Neonatology, Neurology, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Pediatrics.

Over the course of 18 months, the Task Force generated a list of recommendations for the identification and management of suspected neonatal encephalopathy. While the core focus of these guidelines is infant screening and eligibility, the guidelines also address several other areas critical to the treatment of suspected neonatal encephalopathy, including:

  • exclusion criteria
  • stabilization & management
  • transport

What follows is a document that reflects the aim, mission, and consensus opinion of the Neonatal Encephalopathy Task Force. It offers guidance for clinicians in their efforts to provide the safest, most effective, evidenced-based approach to care delivery. 


  • Elisa Abdulhayoglu, MD, MS, FAAP
    Newton-Wellesley Hospital
  • Sanjay Aurora, MD, MPH
    North Shore Medical Center
  • Sara Bates, MD
    Massachusetts General Hospital
  • David Burchfield, MD
    University of Florida Health
  • Joseph Chou, MD, PhD
    Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Jonathan Cronin, MD
    Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Alan Fujii, MD
    Boston Medical Center
  • Munish Gupta, MD, MMSc
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Anne Hansen, MD, MPH
    Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Terrie Inder, MD, MBChB
    Brigham and Women's Hospital
  • Paul Lerou, MD
    Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Janet S. Lloyd, MD
    Mount Auburn Hospital
  • Jeffrey Joseph Neil, MD, PhD
    Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Deirdre O’Reilly, MD, MPH
    Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Lucienne S. Sanchez, MD
    Brigham & Women’s Hospital
    Holy Family Hospital
  • DeWayne Pursley, MD, MPH
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Steven A. Ringer, MD, PhD
    Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Barbara Shephard, MD
    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
    Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Plymouth
  • Bharati Sinha, MBBS, MD, MRCP
    Boston Medical Center
  • Janet Soul, MD
    Boston Children’s Hospital
  • Brian Walsh, MB, Bch, BAO, PhD, MRCPI
    Brigham and Women's Hospital





The Neonatal Encephalopathy Task Force Recommendations on Therapeutic Hypothermia were developed under the auspices of the Academic Medical Center Patient Safety Organization (AMC PSO) Neonatal Encephalopathy Task Force. These consensus recommendations are for informational purposes only and should not be construed or relied upon as a standard of care. The AMC PSO recommends institutions review these guidelines and accept, modify or reject these recommendations based on their own institutional resources and patient populations. Additionally, institutions should continue to review and modify these recommendations as the science continues to evolve.


Download the Guidelines

October 24, 2016
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