Neonatal organ system injury in acute birth asphyxia sufficient to result in neonatal encephalopathy

Gary D.V. Hankins, Sophia Koen, Alfredo F. Gei, Suzanne M. Lopez, James W. Van Hook, Garland D. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To identify the proportion of major organ system injury in cases of acute intrapartum asphyxia that result in neonatal encephalopathy. METHODS: A prospectively maintained database was cross-referenced using medical record coding to identify diagnoses of acute intrapartum asphyxia, acute birth asphyxia, or neonatal encephalopathy over a 6-year period. An acute intrapartum asphyxial antecedent was validated with emphasis on excluding long-standing or chronic conditions where injury likely occurred before presentation. Injury pattern was evaluated using routinely available laboratory and imaging tests. RESULTS: Forty-six cases of acute peripartum asphyxia sufficient to result in the diagnosis of neonatal encephalopathy were identified. Clinical central nervous system injury resulting in encephalopathy was present in 100% of cases as it was an entry criteria; of these, 49% had electroencephalogram and 40% had imaging studies diagnostic of acute injury. Liver injury based on elevated aspartate transaminase or alanine transaminase levels occurred in 80%. Heart injury, as defined by pressor or volume support beyond 2 hours of life or elevated cardiac enzymes, occurred in 78%. Renal injury, defined by an elevation of serum creatinine to greater than 1.0 mg/dL, persistent hematuria, persistent proteinuria, or clinical oliguria, occurred in 72%. An elevation in nucleated red blood cell counts exceeding 26 per 100 white blood cells occurred in 41%. CONCLUSION: Using common diagnostic tests as markers of acute asphyxial injury, we noted that multiple organs suffer damage during an acute intrapartum asphyxial event sufficient to result in a neonatal encephalopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)688-691
Number of pages4
JournalObstetrics and gynecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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