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Therapeutic hypothermia for mild neonatal encephalopathy: a systematic review and meta-analysis
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    Randomized controlled trials on therapeutic hypothermia for mild neonatal encephalopathy are very fragile
    • maria vargas, researcher in intensive care medicine university of naples
    • Other Contributors:
      • Giuseppe Servillo, Professor of intensive care medicine

    Dear Editor,
    We read with great interest the systematic review and meta-analysis by Kariholu et al on the evaluation of therapeutic hypothermia as a tool to decrease composite outcome like death, moderate or severe disability at 18 months or more after mild neonatal encephalopathy (NE). [1]. The authors, including 5 randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reporting the considered outcome, found insufficient evidence to recommend routine therapeutic hypothermia for NE [1]. We agree with this statement and we’d like to support it evaluating the fragility index of the RCTs included in this meta-analysis.
    The fragility index (FI), an intuitive measure of the robustness of RCTs, was introduced in critical care medicine [2]. The studies with larger FI have more robust findings compared with the studies with poor FI [2]. Recently the FI was applied to different meta-analyses in order to confirm or not the results by including in the analysis the studies with FI greater than zero [3, 4, 5]. We evaluated the FI of the RCTs included in this meta-analysis using a two-by-two contingency table and p-value produced by Fisher exact test [2]. In line with the high risk of bias of the included RCTs, we found no studies with FI more than zero for death or moderate/severe disability (Battin FI=0 p= 0,455, Gluckman FI=0 p=1, Jacobs FI=0 p= 0,729, Thayyil FI=0 p=0.350, Zhou FI=0 p=1) [1].
    Since all the included studies are fragile, we strongly support the author’s conclusion that...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.