An analysis of antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum variables was performed in a retrospective controlled study of 34 normally formed term infants who had perinatal asphyxia and subsequently displayed generalised seizures within 48 hours of birth. The aim was to identify any association, firstly between these variables and seizures, and secondly between these variables and subsequent morbidity and mortality among the seizure group. Maternal age greater than 35 years, duration of labour, meconium stained liquor, abnormal intrapartum fetal heart rate trace, and operative delivery were associated with seizures. A low Apgar score at five minutes, and intermittent positive pressure ventilation at birth of longer than 10 minutes were associated with subsequent morbidity and mortality. A striking relation between poor intrauterine growth and either death or handicap in the asphyxia group emphasised the value of growth measurements as a predictor of outcome. The overall incidence of seizures was 1.6 per 1000 term deliveries. There was a significant correlation between the seizure incidence and the intrapartum mortality rate. The incidence of seizures secondary to asphyxia in term infants, occurring less than 48 hours after delivery, may be a valuable index of the quality of perinatal care.
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