Occult Massive Visceral Fat Necrosis Following Therapeutic Hypothermia for Neonatal Encephalopathy.

Khedr, S., A. Piskorski, A. R. Bingham, J. Goldstein, A. R. Laptook, and M. E. De Paepe, "Occult Massive Visceral Fat Necrosis Following Therapeutic Hypothermia for Neonatal Encephalopathy.", Pediatric and developmental pathology : the official journal of the Society for Pediatric Pathology and the Paediatric Pathology Society, pp. 1093526617737881, 2017 Jan 01.


Therapeutic hypothermia (head or whole-body cooling) improves survival and neurodevelopmental outcome in term newborns with moderate-to-severe encephalopathy. Hypothermia treatment is well tolerated; the most common side effect is thrombocytopenia. In about 1% of infants, focal subcutaneous fat necrosis has been reported. We describe a case of clinically unsuspected massive visceral fat necrosis in a term infant with Apgar score 0 at 1 min ("resuscitated apparently stillborn" infant) who was treated with therapeutic hypothermia for 72 h and expired on the 25th day of life following a neonatal course complicated by severe encephalopathy, pulmonary artery hypertension, persistent thrombocytopenia, hypoglycemia, and severe basal ganglia-thalamic abnormalities on magnetic resonance imaging. Postmortem examination revealed extensive visceral (brown) fat necrosis, involving thoracic, abdominal, and retroperitoneal adipose tissue, with distinctive sparing of the subcutaneous (white) fat. The fulminant-yet clinically occult-visceral fat necrosis seen in this case suggests that (lesser degrees of) fat necrosis may go unrecognized in hypoxic-ischemic newborns, especially in those treated with hypothermia, and underscores the importance of close monitoring of encephalopathic newborns both in the short and long terms for complications of fat necrosis (hypercalcemia and nephrocalcinosis).