Minor neurological signs and behavioural function at age 2 years in neonatal hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE)

Caroline J. Edmonds, Suzannah K. Helps, Denise Hart, Anna Zatorska, Neelam Gupta, Rina Cianfaglione, Brigitte Vollmer

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Background: Neurodevelopmental follow-up in Neonatal Hypoxic Ischaemic Encephalopathy (HIE) typically focusses on major neuromotor (cerebral palsy, CP) and severe cognitive impairment. Outcomes in those without major neuromotor impairment are less well explored.

Objectives: To examine behavioural, cognitive and neurological outcomes after neonatal HIE, in a clinical cohort of children without CP, at age 2 years.

Methods: Clinical routine outcome data from children admitted to a tertiary centre with neonatal HIE for hypothermia treatment between 05/08/09–30/05/2016. Children were assessed for neuromotor status – particularly minor neurological signs (MNS), with Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development III (Bayley III) or Ages and Stages Questionnaire-3 (ASQ), Child Behavior Checklist 1.5–5 (CBCL), Quantitative Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (Q-CHAT).

Results: Of 107 children, 75.5% had normal neurology, 12.1% CP, 12.1% MNS. Children with CP were excluded from analyses. For those without CP, Bayley-III scores were in the average range for the majority; mild cognitive delay observed in 5%, 4.2% language, 1.3% motor development; severe delay in 1.3% for cognitive, 4.2% for language. More than in the normative population scored in clinical ranges for CBCL externalising, sleep, and other problems. No significant difference was seen for Q-CHAT. Children with MNS were significantly more likely to have impaired Bayley-III scores, parent-reported internalising, sleep, and other problems.

Conclusions: In this clinical cohort, the majority of children had favourable outcome at 2 years. However, children with MNS were at risk for cognitive and behavioural difficulties and will benefit from enhanced clinical follow-up and support.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Paediatric Neurology
Early online date11 Apr 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 11 Apr 2020


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