Background Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is one of the most critical pathologic conditions in neonatal medicine due to the potential for neurological deficits in later life. We investigated the incidence of term infants with moderate or severe HIE in Japan and identified prognostic risk factors for poor outcome in HIE. Methods Data on 227 infants diagnosed with moderate or severe HIE and born between January and December 2008 were collected via nationwide surveys from 263 responding hospitals. Using logistic regression, we examined the relationship between maternal, antepartum, intrapartum, and neonatal risk factors and clinical outcome at 18 months following birth. Results In Japan, the incidence of moderate or severe HIE was 0.37 per 1000 term live births. Outborn births, low Apgar score at 5 min, use of epinephrine, and low cord blood pH were intrapartum factors significantly associated with neurodevelopmental delay and death at 18 months. Serum lactate, lactate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase (all, P < 0.001) and creatine kinase (P = 0.002) were significantly higher in infants with poor outcome compared to those with favorable outcomes. Abnormal brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), an important prognostic factor, was significantly associated with poor outcome (odds ratio, 11.57; 95% confidence interval: 5.66-23.64; P < 0.001). Conclusions Risk factors predicting poor outcome in HIE include outborn birth, low Apgar score at 5 min, use of epinephrine, laboratory abnormalities, and abnormal MRI findings.
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