Background Induced hypothermia treatment (HT) for 72 hours reduces the risk of neurological sequele in asphyxiated full-term infants. Pathological findings on postnatal MRI of the brain have been shown to correlate to the prognosis.
This population-based study investigates the correlation between pathological findings in MRI of the brain after HT and neuromotor outcome at 12 months of age in asphyxiated full-term infants with HIE.
Methods In Stockholm, between January 2006 and December 2009, all infants fulfilling A- and B-criteria for HT were included. MRI of the brain was done within 2 weeks from birth. Neurological assessment was done at 4 and 12 months of age.
Results Of the 70 infants who received HT, both MRI examination and outcome data were available for 60 infants. Patterns of injury on MRI were defined based on the predominant site of injury: Watershed predominant (WS), basal ganglia/thalamus predominant (BG/T), general/global lesions (G) and normal.
46 infants had normal neuromotor outcome at 12 months of age. 14 infants had abnormal outcome (2 mild/moderate impairment, 12 cerebral palsy, 4 ad mortem).
Conclusions The development and severity of motor deficits due to perinatal asphyxia correlates to the pattern of brain injury seen on MRI. MRI provides valuable prognostic information in hypothermia-treated infants.