Title

Incidence of and risk factors for neonatal respiratory depression and encephalopathy in rural Sarlahi, Nepal

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-1-2011

Journal

Pediatrics

Volume

128

Issue

4

DOI

10.1542/peds.2010-3590

Keywords

Birth asphyxia; Developing country; Intrapartum; Neonatal encephalopathy; Neonatal respiratory depression; Nepal; Neurodevelopment

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To characterize the incidence of, risk factors for, and neonatal morbidity and mortality associated with respiratory depression at birth and neonatal encephalopathy (NE) among term infants in a developing country. METHODS: Data were collected prospectively in 2002-2006 during a community-based trial that enrolled 23 662 newborns in rural Nepal and evaluated the impact of umbilical-cord and skin cleansing on neonatal morbidity and mortality rates. Respiratory depression at birth and NE were defined on the basis of symptoms from maternal reports and study-worker observations during home visits. RESULTS: Respiratory depression at birth was reported for 19.7% of live births, and 79% of cases involved term infants without congenital anomalies. Among newborns with probable intrapartum-related respiratory depression (N = 3465), 112 (3%) died before their first home visit (presumed severe NE), and 178 (5%) eventually developed symptoms of NE. Overall, 629 term infants developed NE (28.1 cases per 1000 live births); 2% of cases were associated with congenital anomalies, 25% with infections, and 28% with a potential intrapartum event. The incidence of intrapartum-related NE was 13.0 cases per 1000 live births; the neonatal case fatality rate was 46%. Infants with NE more frequently experienced birth complications and were male, of multiple gestation, or born to nulliparous mothers. CONCLUSIONS: In Sarlahi, the incidence of neonatal respiratory depression and NE, associated neonatal case fatality, and morbidity prevalence are high. Action is required to increase coverage of skilled obstetric/neonatal care in this setting and to evaluate long-term impairments. Copyright © 2011 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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