Protecting the future: Neuroprotective strategies in the pediatric intensive care unit

Joshua D. Koch, Steven G. Kernie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose of review: Brain injury is the leading cause of death in pediatric intensive care units, and improvements in therapy and in understanding the pathogenesis are urgently needed. This review presents recent advances in the understanding of neuroprotective therapy and brain-specific monitoring for critically ill pediatric patients. Recent findings: Two neuroprotective strategies are becoming increasingly accepted as they are applied to different mechanisms of brain injury. The rapid application of hypothermia and avoidance of hyperoxia after cardiac arrest and other brain injuries are each being more commonly used as both human and animal data advocating for these approaches accumulate. In addition, more advanced and noninvasive technologies are emerging that are designed to serve as surrogates for brain function and may be used to help predict outcome. Near-infrared spectroscopy is one such commonly used technique that has prompted many studies to understand how to incorporate it into practice. Summary: Protection of the pediatric brain from both a primary insult and the common subsequent secondary injury is essential for improving long-term neurologic outcomes. Whereas monitoring technology is being constantly modified, it must be proven efficacious in order to understand the utility of new and presumed neuroprotective therapies like hypothermia and avoidance of hyperoxia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-280
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent opinion in pediatrics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011


  • hyperoxia
  • hypothermia
  • near-infrared spectroscopy
  • neuroprotection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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