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Intrapartum asphyxia and hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy in a public hospital: Incidence and predictors of poor outcome

Eduard Keith Bruckmann, Sithembiso Velaphi

Abstract


Objective. To determine the incidence of asphyxia and hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) and predictors of poor outcome in a hospital in a developing country.

Methods. Neonates of birth weight ≥2 000 g who required bag-and-mask ventilation and were admitted with a primary diagnosis of asphyxia from January to December 2011 were included. Medical records were retrieved and maternal and infant data collected and analysed. Infants who had severe HIE and/or died were compared with those who survived to hospital discharge with no or mild to moderate HIE.

Results. There were 21 086 liveborn infants with a birth weight of ≥2 000 g over the study period. The incidence of asphyxia ranged from 8.7 to 15.2/1 000 live births and that of HIE from 8.5 to 13.3/1 000, based on the definition of asphyxia used. In 60% of patients with HIE it was moderate to severe. The overall mortality rate was 7.8%. The mortality rate in infants with moderate and severe HIE was 7.1% and 62.5%, respectively. The odds of severe HIE and/or death were high if the Apgar score was <5 at 10 minutes (odds ratio (OR) 19.1; 95% confidence interval (CI) 5.7 - 66.9) and if there was no spontaneous respiration at 20 minutes (OR 27.2; 95% CI 6.9 - 117.4), a need for adrenaline (OR 81.2; 95% CI 13.2 - 647.7) and a pH of <7 (OR 5.33; 95% CI 1.31 - 25.16). Predictors of poor outcome were Apgar score at 10 minutes (p=0.004), need for adrenaline (p=0.034) and low serum bicarbonate (p=0.028).

Conclusion. The incidence of asphyxia in term and near-term infants is higher than that reported in developed countries. Apgar score at 10 minutes and need for adrenaline remain important factors in predicting poor outcome in infants with asphyxia.

Authors' affiliations

Eduard Keith Bruckmann, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Johannesburg

Sithembiso Velaphi, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Johannesburg

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Keywords

Neonates; Asphyxia; Apgar score; Acidosis; Hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy; Mortality

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2015;105(4):298-303. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.9140

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-11-07
Date published: 2015-03-11

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