Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Ten indicators available during the first two hours of life, such as clinical criteria of neonatal distress and postnatal arterial blood gases, were compared with the neonatal neurological course in sixty full term newborns with significant birth asphyxia in order to test their value for the diagnosis and the short-term prognosis of severe birth asphyxia. Birth asphyxia was defined as severe when it was followed by symptoms of moderate or severe post-asphyxial encephalopathy. We calculated a sensitivity lower than fifty percent for clinical criteria such as delay in establishing regular respiration and Apgar scores. It was clear that normal delay in establishing regular respiration and normal Apgar scores do not exclude severe birth asphyxia. Arterial pH and base deficit at thirty minutes of life were found to be the best criteria for the diagnosis of severe birth asphyxia, but lacked positive predictive value. The best predictive tool for the short-term neurological prognosis of birth asphyxia was a single score established at 30 minutes of life and based on the evaluation of consciousness, respiration and neonatal reflexes. Some aspects of the pathophysiology of birth asphyxia and the rationale for treatment of post-asphyxial metabolic acidosis are discussed. © 1994, Walter de Gruyter. All rights reserved.