Background. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a leading cause of disability in full-term newborns. Long-term consequences of HIE, even when treated by hypothermia, are not easily predictable.
Aims. To assess the potential role of electroencephalography and neuroimaging parameters as early predictors of neurodevelopmental outcome in HIE newborns treated with hypothermia.
Methods. We retrospectively evaluated 13 HIE patients treated with hypothermia in January 2012-September 2014. We reviewed their amplitude-integrated electroencephalography (a-EEG) at 6, 12 and 24 hours (h), cranial ultrasonography (US) at 12, 72 h and >7 days of life (DOL) and brain magnetic resonance (MRI) performed at 7-28 DOL, according to validated scores. aEEG, US and MRI patterns were correlated to neurodevelopmental outcome at 18-24 months, considered as negative if one of the following was present: Mental Development Index (MDI)<85, motor, visual or hearing impairment.
Results. The severity of a-EEG, US and MRI alterations at each time point was not different according to the outcome. MDI was negatively correlated with aEEG score at 12h (R= -0.571, p=0.04) and with US score at 72h (R= -0.630, p=0.02). A positive correlation was found between aEEG score at 6h and US score at >7DOL (R=0.690, p=0.013). US alterations of the cortical matter at 72h were directly correlated with a-EEG score at 12h (R = 0.606, p=0.028) and 24h (R=0.605, p=0.029).
Conclusions. Early instrumental evaluations, in particular aEEG and US, seem to predict neurodevelopmental outcome at 18-24 months in HIE newborns treated with hypothermia.
Key words: asphyxia, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, hypothermia, newborn