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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


STARK, Suzanne; VAN DER VYVER, Desiree B  and  GRETSCHEL, Pamela. A descriptive research audit of the long term developmental outcomes of 30 infants with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) who received hypothermia at a secondary Hospital in South Africa. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2020, vol.50, n.2, pp.35-43. ISSN 2310-3833.

INTRODUCTION: Hypothermia is a neuroprotective strategy proven to reduce death and disability in children presenting with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE). Little evidence exists regarding the long term developmental outcomes of infants who received hypothermia within a secondary hospital in South AfricaMETHOD: Drawing on a descriptive research audit this paper describes the development (up to five years) of 30 infants with HIE who received hypothermia at the George hospital in South Africa. Developmental outcomes were measured at 3, 9, 12, 24 and 36 months using the Strive Towards Achieving Results Together (START) and at 48 and 60 months using the Early Childhood Developmental Criteria (ECDC). Summary data (variables considered risk factors) were collected retrospectively. The associations between this data and developmental outcomes are describedRESULTS: Twenty children presented with typical development, eight presented with cerebral palsy (CP) and two were lost to follow up. A significant association between a severe HIE score and CP was found (p=0.0005). The children performed equally in fine motor, gross motor and cognitive abilities at four years with poorer outcomes in cognitive and fine motor abilities recorded at five years. The perceptual activity both age groups struggled with the most was directionalityCONCLUSION: The results of the research audit support the need for long-term occupational therapy follow-up of children with HIE to monitor their development and provide specific interventions to promote their development and prevent barriers to learning. This paper also advocates the need for occupational therapists working in the public health sector to have access to standardised assessment tools which allow them to closely monitor the development of infants who present with HIE at birth

Keywords : Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy; hypothermia; developmental outcomes; environment.

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