HELIX: Hypothermia for Encephalopathy in Low and Middle-Income Countries Trial

Sponsor
Thayyil, Sudhin (Other)
Overall Status
Active, not recruiting
CT.gov ID
NCT02387385
Collaborator
Madras Medical College (Other), Manipal Hospital, India (Other), Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla (Other), Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and Hospital (Other), Imperial College London (Other), Maulana Azad Medical College (Other), Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Dhaka, Bangladesh (Other), University of Kelaniya (Other), Medical College Trivandrum (Other)
408
Enrollment
9
Locations
2
Arms
60
Duration (Months)
45.3
Patients Per Site
0.8
Patients Per Site Per Month

Study Details

Study Description

Brief Summary

Neonatal Encephalopathy is a serious condition arising from unexpected lack of cerebral blood flow and oxygen supply to the foetal brain at the time of birth. Every year, approximately one million babies die from neonatal encephalopathy in low and middle-income countries and a quarter of these deaths occur in India.

In the past decade, a number of clinical trials in high-income countries has shown that cooling therapy along with optimal neonatal intensive care reduces death and neurodisability after neonatal encephalopathy. Cooling therapy is now used as a standard therapy after neonatal encephalopathy in all high income countries, including the UK.

Although the burden of neonatal encephalopathy is far higher in low and middle-income countries, the safety and efficacy data on cooling therapy from high income cooling trials cannot be extrapolated to these settings, due to the difference in population co-morbidities and sub-optimal neonatal intensive care.

The HELIX trial proposes to examine whether whole body cooling to 33.5°C initiated within 6 hours of birth and continued for 72 hours reduces death or neurodisability at 18 months after neonatal encephalopathy in public sector neonatal units in India.

A total of 408 babies with moderate or severe neonatal encephalopathy will be recruited from the participating centres in India over an 18 to 24 month period. The babies will be randomly allocated to whole body cooling or usual care. The cooling therapy will be achieved using an approved cooling device (Tecotherm) that is already in clinical use in the UK and in India. MR imaging and spectroscopy will be performed at 1 week of age to examine the brain injury. Neurodevelopmental outcomes will be assessed at 18 months of age. Primary outcome measure is death or moderate/severe neurodisability at 18 months.

Condition or DiseaseIntervention/TreatmentPhase
  • Device: Whole body cooling (Tecotherm)
N/A

Detailed Description

Although the burden of neonatal encephalopathy is far higher in low and middle-income countries, the safety and efficacy data on cooling therapy from high income cooling trials cannot be extrapolated to these settings.

Firstly, all high-income country clinical trials to date have provided cooling therapy along side optimal tertiary neonatal intensive care and cardiorespiratory support. Such tertiary care includes 1:1 expert nursing care, continuous clinical monitoring of vital physiological parameters, close attention to acid base and electrolyte balance, optimal ventilatory and inotropic support, parenteral nutrition, nitric oxide and cerebral function monitoring. These centres also have access to extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) facilities for infants with persistent pulmonary hypertension and meconium aspiration that may be adversely affected by cooling. The safety and efficacy of cooling therapy without optimal tertiary neonatal intensive care is unknown. Even the best resourced public sector tertiary neonatal units in India and other low and middle-income countries do not have the facilities and expertise that are comparable to the neonatal units where the high-income cooling trials were originally performed. The dangers of extrapolating the safety and efficacy data from high income country intensive care units to low and middle-income countries is well known, and has been recently re-emphasised by the increased mortality seen after fluid boluses in children with septic shock in Africa (FEAST trial). The HELIX trial will examine the safety of cooling therapy in under resourced public sector neonatal units in India, who do not have the above-mentioned facilities for providing optimal tertiary intensive care, alongside cooling therapy. Secondly, there are significant population differences in babies who suffer from encephalopathy in high-income countries and those in low and middle-income countries with a higher incidence of perinatal infection and meconium aspiration. Antenatal care is often poor, and intra uterine growth restriction and delayed hospital admission in obstructed labour are extremely common.

Thus the brain injury may be more chronic and already established, such that the window period for cooling may be already lost by the time baby is born. Two recent NICHD hypothermia workshops (2011 and 2013)14 involving experts in therapeutic hypothermia have recommended that rigorous evaluation of cooling therapy should be urgently conducted in LMIC, to ensure that the benefits of one of the most important discoveries in neonatal medicine are not lost to the population that needs it most. Without such rigorous evaluation there may be a creeping introduction of cooling therapy, which is constantly sabotaged by residual safety concerns, and it will never be widely used in India and other LMIC.

Cooling studies from low and middle-income countries A number of small randomised controlled trials have been reported from low and middle-income countries. Individual studies were small and of poor quality. The largest of these trials reported from China had excluded babies at risk of perinatal sepsis and had substantial methodological concerns. Two studies reported increased mortality with cooling. Meta-analysis of all these trials showed a trend towards reduced mortality, however this was not statistically significant (RR 0.74; 95% CI 0.4 to 1.3). More importantly, the confidence intervals were wide and therefore significant benefits or harm cannot be excluded. There were no data on long term neurological follow up after cooling therapy. In preparation for the HELIX trial, the investigators conducted a feasibility study of cooling therapy using a servo controlled cooling device (Tecotherm) in 2013/14, at Madras Medical College (MMC), Chennai. The data from 58 cooled babies with neonatal encephalopathy and 112 contemporary 'un matched' encephalopathic babies who had usual care (normothermia) admitted to the neonatal unit over a 15 month period are given below . Although the neonatal mortality in the cooled babies appears to be higher than the high-income country cooling trials, it was lower than the contemporary encephalopathic population at this hospital. High incidence of gastric bleeds and persistent metabolic acidosis were seen in both groups. The cases and controls were not matched and it is possible that the control babies were more unwell, and therefore had higher mortality (29% versus 54%; Table 1); nevertheless, these data are reassuring and support further evaluation of cooling therapy in a rigorous randomised controlled trial (manuscript in preparation). A paradox of private and public sector health care exists in India and other low and middleincome countries. Private hospitals are often very well equipped and have good tertiary intensive care facilities, but are not affordable to the low income populations. Moreover, these hospitals are relatively smaller (annual delivery rates of less than 2000), and have a low encephalopathy burden. Public sector hospitals on the other hand, tend to be much larger (20,000 to 30,000 deliveries per year) and offer free health care to the low income population. These hospitals have a huge encephalopathy burden (both inborn and out-born babies), but lack resources and good neonatal intensive care facilities. Thus, significant health benefits will occur only if the neuroprotective therapies are usable and indeed effective in public sector hospitals in the low and middle-income countries, rather than in private health care.

The HELIX trial is carefully designed to be generalizable to all under-resourced neonatal units with sub optimal neonatal intensive in India and other low and middle-income countries, that bear a very high neonatal encephalopathy burden. However, the neonatal units need to have a good quality basic neonatal care, including facilities of neonatal resuscitation, administration of intravenous fluids, drugs and basic respiratory support, but not optimal cardio respiratory or 1:1 nursing care facilities. The HELIX trial will be conducted in the real life situation of under resourced public sector neonatal units lacking optimal tertiary intensive care in India. Exclusively clinical criteria will be used for case identification and recruitment, and no laboratory parameters, neuroimaging or cerebral function monitoring will be required for eligibility. The entire cooling therapy will be provided by the existing clinical teams, and the research team will only be involved in accurate and high quality data collection, so that the trial results are reflective of the routine clinical scenario. Clearly, the population co-morbidities and resources in Indian neonatal units are different to African and other low-income country neonatal units. If the HELIX trial results suggest that cooling is safe and effective in Indian neonatal units, the next stage would be to evaluate cooling therapy in under resourced neonatal units in Africa, and other low-income countries.

The Helix trial is a two arm un-blinded pragmatic randomised controlled trial of whole body cooling versus standard care, after neonatal encephalopathy in low and middle-income countries. The investigators plan to randomise 408 babies in this trial, for which the investigators anticipate approximately 1200 babies will have to be screened for eligibility. The treatment duration (cooling therapy) is 72 hours, however the temperature of all recruited babies will be monitored during the first week after birth. Any temperature rise over >37.5°C will be active treated, both in the cooling and usual care arms, as fever increases the brain injury and adverse outcomes after neonatal encephalopathy. The neurological outcomes will be assessed between 18 to 22 months of age. The trial duration will be 4 years, consisting of a 4 week start up period, 24 month recruitment period, a 18 month follow-up period, and 5 months for data analysis and write up.

Study Design

Study Type:
Interventional
Actual Enrollment :
408 participants
Allocation:
Randomized
Intervention Model:
Single Group Assignment
Masking:
None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose:
Treatment
Official Title:
Hypothermia for Encephalopathy in Low and Middle-Income Countries Trial
Study Start Date :
Aug 1, 2015
Anticipated Primary Completion Date :
Aug 1, 2020
Anticipated Study Completion Date :
Aug 1, 2020

Arms and Interventions

ArmIntervention/Treatment
Active Comparator: Intervention

Whole body cooling to 33 degrees C to 34 degrees C

Device: Whole body cooling (Tecotherm)
Whole body cooling to 33 to 34 C using Tecotherm

No Intervention: Standard of Care

Standard of care

Outcome Measures

Primary Outcome Measures

  1. Composite outcome of Death or moderate or severe neurodisability [18 to 22 months]

Secondary Outcome Measures

  1. Mortality from any cause [before discharge from hospital Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  2. Major intracranial haemorrhage [before discharge from hospital Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  3. Gastric bleeds (fresh blood > 5 ml from nasogastric tube) [before discharge from hospital Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  4. Persistent hypotension (mean blood pressure < 40 mm of Hg requiring inotropic support) [before discharge from hospital Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  5. Pulmonary haemorrhage (Copious bloody secretions with clinical deterioration requiring change(s) in ventilatory management) [before discharge from hospital Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  6. Persistent pulmonary hypertension (Severe hypoxemia disproportionate to the severity of lung disease with a significant pre-and post ductal saturation difference on pulse oximetry) [before discharge from hospital Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  7. Prolonged blood coagulation time requiring blood products [before discharge from hospital Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  8. Culture proven early onset sepsis (isolation of a pathogenic organism from blood or cerebrospinal fluid along with clinical evidence of sepsis and elevation of C-reactive protein) [Prolonged blood coagulation time requiring blood products Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  9. Necrotising enterocolitis (defined as abdominal distension, increased gastric aspirates and/or blood in stools together with abdominal X-ray showing bowel oedema, pneumatosis or pneumoperitoneum, i.e. Bell's staging 2 or 3) [before discharge from hospital Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  10. Cardiac arrhythmia [before discharge from hospital Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  11. Severe thrombocytopenia [before discharge from hospital Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  12. Renal failure [before discharge from hospital Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  13. Pneumonia [before discharge from hospital Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  14. Subcutaneous fat necrosis [before discharge from hospital Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  15. Duration of hospitalisation [before discharge from hospital Expected average of 3 weeks]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  16. Mortality [Long term (18 to 22 months)]

    Expected average of 3 weeks hospital stay

  17. Severe neurodevelopmental disability [Long term (18 to 22 months)]

  18. Microcephaly (head circumference more than 2 standard deviations below the mean) [Long term (18 to 22 months)]

Eligibility Criteria

Criteria

Ages Eligible for Study:
N/A to 6 Hours
Sexes Eligible for Study:
All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:
No
Inclusion Criteria:
  1. Age < 6 hours, Birth-weight >1.8 kg, Gestation >36 weeks

  2. Need for continued resuscitation at 5 minutes after birth and/or 5 minute Apgar score <6 (in babies born at hospital) or lack of cry by 5 minutes of age (for babies born at home)

  3. Evidence of moderate or severe encephalopathy on clinical examination within 6 hours of age.

Exclusion Criteria:
  1. Absent heart rate at 10 minute of age despite adequate resuscitation.

  2. Major life threatening congenital malformation.

  3. Migrant family or parents unable/unlikely to come back for follow up at 18 months.

  4. Lack of parental consent.

Contacts and Locations

Locations

SiteCityStateCountryPostal Code
1Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical UniversityDhakaBangladesh1000
2Institute of Obstetrics and GynaecologyChennaiTamilNaduIndia
3Indira Gandhi Institute of Child HealthBangaloreIndia
4Calicut Medical CollegeCalicutIndia
5Institute of Child Health, Madras Medical CollegeChennaiIndia
6Sion HospitalMumbaiIndia
7Maulana Azad Medical CollegeNew DelhiIndia
8Medical College TrivandrumTrivandrumIndia
9University of KelaniyaKelaniyaSri Lanka

Sponsors and Collaborators

  • Thayyil, Sudhin
  • Madras Medical College
  • Manipal Hospital, India
  • Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla
  • Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and Hospital
  • Imperial College London
  • Maulana Azad Medical College
  • Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • University of Kelaniya
  • Medical College Trivandrum

Investigators

  • Study Director: Sudhin Thayyil, PhD, Imperial College London
  • Principal Investigator: Vania Oliveira, MSc, Imperial College London
  • Principal Investigator: Seetha Shankaran, MD, Wayne State University

Study Documents (Full-Text)

None provided.

More Information

Additional Information:

Publications

None provided.
Responsible Party:
Thayyil, Sudhin
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
NCT02387385
Other Study ID Numbers:
  • 15HH
First Posted:
Mar 13, 2015
Last Update Posted:
Jun 5, 2020
Last Verified:
Jun 1, 2020
Additional relevant MeSH terms:

Study Results

No Results Posted as of Jun 5, 2020