Birth asphyxia at a district hospital in Kigali, Rwanda
Background: Prematurity, birth asphyxia (BA), and sepsis are the leading causes of neonatal mortality. The BA prevalence rate is 23% worldwide and affects up to 39% in Rwanda. Birth asphyxia is an insult with significant consequences to the neonate’s brain and other vital organs due to decreased oxygen before, during or immediately after birth.
Objective: To assess the BA prevalence, associated factors, and outcomes at a district hospital in Kigali.
Methods: A retrospective, cross-sectional study of 340 neonates admitted to the NICU in 2016.
Results: Birth asphyxia was identified in 135 out of 340 newborns (39.7%). Associated factors included gravida, meconium-stained amniotic fluid, normal duration of labor, normal duration of ROM, vaginal delivery, Apgar score of ≤5 at 5 minutes, respiratory ventilation and cardiac massage and normal birth weight (2500-3999gr). Two-thirds were born via vaginal birth (66.5%), and nearly half (47.3%) had BA. One-third was born via cesarean (33.5%), and a quarter (24.6%)
had BA. Other BA outcomes included prolonged hospitalization beyond the neonatal period at 75% compared to non asphyxiated babies (25%). The mean days of NICU stay was 7.6 (SD: 6.1) for BA while it was 5.3 (SD: 4.16) for non-asphyxiated babies; early seizures (52.6%) and high specific mortality (87%).
Discussion: Findings revealed a 6% BA prevalence increase, and a BA-specific mortality rate 13 times higher than previously recorded. Trained healthcare professionals need to reverse this significant trend in both vaginal and cesarean births that likely has a profound effect on the neonate, family, and community.
Keywords: Birth asphyxia, neonatal morbidity, mortality, prevalence, risk factors, outcomes, sub-Saharan Africa
During the submission, authors will be requested to complete a ‘Copyright Transfer form' to assign to the University of Rwanda the copyright of the manuscript and any tables, illustrations or other material submitted for publication as part of the manuscript (the "Article") in all forms and media (whether now known or later developed), throughout the world, in all languages, for the full term of copyright, effective when the article is accepted for publication. The Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC-BY-NC-ND) license shall be applied.