Outcomes of neonates with perinatal asphyxia at a tertiary academic hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa

  • N Padayachee
  • DE Ballot


Background. Perinatal asphyxia is a signicant cause of death and disability.
Objective. To determine the outcomes (survival to discharge and morbidity aer discharge) of neonates with perinatal asphyxia at Charlotte
Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH).
Methods. is was a descriptive retrospective study. We reviewed information obtained from the computerised neonatal database on neonates born at CMJAH or admitted there within 24 hours of birth between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2011, with a birth weight of >1 800 g and a 5-minute Apgar score <6.
Results. Four hundred and y infants were included in the study; 185 (41.1%) were females, the mean birth weight (± standard deviation)
was 3 034.8±484.9 g, and the mean gestational age was 39.1±2.2 weeks. Most of the infants were born at CMJAH (391/450, 86.9%) and by normal vaginal delivery (270/450, 60.0%). e overall survival rate was 86.7% (390/450). Forty-two infants were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). e ICU survival rate was 88.1% (37/42). Signicant predictors of survival were place of birth (p=0.006), mode of delivery (p=0.007) and bag-mask ventilation at birth (p=0.040). Duration of hospital stay (p=0.000) was signicantly longer in survivors than in non-survivors (6.5±6.6 days v. 2.8±9.8 days). e remaining factors, namely gender, antenatal care, chest compressions, diagnosis of meconium aspiration syndrome or persistant pulmonary hypertension, did not dier signicantly between the two groups. e rate of perinatal asphyxia (5-minute Apgar score <6) was 4.7/1 000 live births, and there was evidence of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) in 3.6/1 000 live births. Of the 390 babies discharged from CMJAH, 113 (29.0%) had follow-up records to a mean corrected age of 5.9±5.0 months. e majority (90/113, 79.6%) had normal development.
Conclusions. (i) e high overall survival and survival aer ICU admission provides a benchmark for further care; (ii) obtaining adequate data for long-term follow-up was not possible with the existing resources – surrogate early markers of outcome and/or more resources to ensure accurate follow-up are needed; and (iii) the high incidence of HIE suggests that a therapeutic hypothermia service, including a longterm follow-up component, would be benecial.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1999-7671
print ISSN: 1994-3032