Neonatal encephalopathy: Focus on epidemiology and underexplored aspects of etiology

Newborn Brain Society Guidelines and Publications Committee

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Neonatal Encephalopathy (NE) is a neurologic syndrome in term and near-term infants who have depressed consciousness, difficulty initiating and maintaining respiration, and often abnormal tone, reflexes and neonatal seizures in varying combinations. Moderate/severe NE affects 0.5–3/1000 live births in high-income countries, more in low- and middle-income countries, and carries high risk of mortality or disability, including cerebral palsy. Reduced blood flow and/or oxygenation around the time of birth, as with ruptured uterus, placental abruption or umbilical cord prolapse can cause NE. This subset of NE, with accompanying low Apgar scores and acidemia, is termed Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy. Other causes of NE that can present similarly, include infections, inflammation, toxins, metabolic disease, stroke, placental disease, and genetic disorders. Aberrant fetal growth and congenital anomalies are strongly associated with NE, suggesting a major role for maldevelopment. As new tools for differential diagnosis emerge, their application for prevention, individualized treatment and prognostication will require further systematic studies of etiology of NE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101265
JournalSeminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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