Thirty-one children who survived severe birth asphyxia defined by a 1-minute Apgar score of 0, or a 5-minute Apgar score of less than 4, have been seen at age 5 to 10 years for neurological and psychological assessment. Their progress has been compared with that of controls matched for sex, birthweight, gestational age, and social class. 29(93%) of the 31 asphyxiated group and all the controls had no serious neurological or mental handicap. 2 were severely disabled and mentally retarded. Detailed studies of psychological function showed no significant differences between the two groups. 2 apparently stillborn infants have made normal progress. It was not possible to identify any perinatal factor which predicted the occurrence of serious handicap with certainty. We considered that the quality of life enjoyed by the large majority of the survivors was such as to justify a positive approach to the resuscitation of very severely asphyxiated neonates.
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