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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


BRUCKMANN, E K  and  VELAPHI, S. Intrapartum asphyxia and hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy in a public hospital: incidence and predictors of poor outcome. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2015, vol.105, n.4, pp.298-303. ISSN 2078-5135.

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.

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