To test the hypothesis that brainstem hypoxic–ischemic injury on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) would be independently associated with short-term outcomes in cooled asphyxiated infants.
A total of 90 consecutively cooled asphyxiated infants who survived to have brain MRI were reviewed. A neuroradiologist who was masked to outcomes evaluated MRI images for brainstem involvement. Outcomes were mortality and length of stay.
Brainstem lesions were present on post-cooling brain MRI in 20 of the 90 infants (22%). Overall, four infants died before discharge, and all four had brainstem involvement. The infants with brainstem involvement had longer hospital stay (29 days, IQR 20–47 versus 16 days, IQR 10–26; P = 0.0001), compared to infants without brainstem lesions (n = 70); and upon multivariate analysis, brainstem involvement remained independently associated with prolonged hospital stay (β = 12.4, P = 0.001).
This study demonstrates the importance of recognizing brainstem injury for the prediction of short-term outcomes in cooled asphyxiated infants.
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Sarkar, S.S., Gupta, S., Bapuraj, J.R. et al. Brainstem hypoxic–ischemic lesions on MRI in infants treated with therapeutic cooling: effects on the length of stay and mortality. J Perinatol (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41372-020-00873-y