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July 2012

Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy: Still a Cool Test

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Neurology, Department of Pediatrics (Drs Chau and Miller) and Department of Radiology (Dr Poskitt), BC Children's Hospital and University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; and Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco (Dr Miller).

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2012;166(7):669-671. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2012.579

Hypoxic-ischemic brain injury, the most frequent cause of neonatal encephalopathy, carries high rates of morbidity and mortality, accounting for up to 20% of deaths in the neonatal population.1 In surviving children, 15% to 20% will sustain permanent neurodevelopmental disability, including impaired motor skills and cognition.2 In diagnosing this condition, early clinical indicators such as umbilical cord pH and Apgar scores do not reliably predict long-term outcomes.3 The severity of clinical encephalopathy seems to be a stronger predictor of neurodevelopment,4 but its predictive value is limited in the subgroup of newborns presenting with moderate symptoms.5-7