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Cerebral palsy following term newborn encephalopathy: a population-based study

  • Nadia Badawi (a1), Janine F Felix (a2), Jennifer J Kurinczuk (a3), Glenys Dixon (a4), Linda Watson (a4), John M Keogh (a5), Jane Valentine (a6) and Fiona J Stanley (a4)...


Cerebral palsy (CP) can occur in term infants with or without preceding newborn encephalopathy. We compared the type and severity of CP and associated disability in these two groups. Participants from a population-based case-control study of term newborn encephalopathy were followed up for 6 years and linked to the Western Australian Cerebral Palsy Register. The remaining term infants with CP for the same period were also identified from the Cerebral Palsy Register. 13% of neonatal survivors of term newborn encephalopathy had CP, a rate of 116 per 1000 term live births. Overall, 24% of term infants with CP followed newborn encephalopathy. CP following newborn encephalopathy was more likely to: affect males (72% vs 56%); be severe (47% vs 25%); and be of spastic quadriplegia or dyskinetic types. Cognitive impairment was more common (75% vs 43%) and severe (41% vs 16%), as was epilepsy (53% vs 29%) in survivors of encephalopathy. These children were also more likely to: be non-verbal (47% vs 22%); have a severe composite disability score (47% vs 26%); and die between time of diagnosis of CP and age 6 years (5-year cumulative mortality 19% vs 5%). Children born at term who develop CP following newborn encephalopathy have a poorer prognosis than those with CP who were not encephalopathic in the first week of life.


Corresponding author

Department of Neonatology, Children's Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia. E-mail:


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