Aim: Long-term sequelae after perinatal asphyxia have generally been assessed at preschool or school age. The aim of the study was to confirm the hypothesis that there could be impairment of cognitive and memory functions that does not become apparent until education and adult life impose special demands.
Methods: Seventy-one term or near-term newborns in need of cardiopulmonary resuscitation because of presumed perinatal asphyxia were investigated with evoked EEG potentials during the first week of life and were investigated at a follow-up clinic until 18 mo of age. At that time 12 subjects showed signs of neuro-developmental impairment. The remaining 59 were considered healthy. They were contacted at young adult age and given a questionnaire containing questions about type of education, need for extra support at school, present activity/employment, living conditions, spare-time activities and self-estimation of health.
Results: Thirty-five control subjects were approached at the same time. From the group that was resuscitated at birth, 53 questionnaires were returned and 30 from the control group. Although the resuscitated subjects had signs of both encephalopathy and pathologic evoked responses during their neonatal period, the questionnaire revealed that they had coped with school equally as well as their peers, that the rate of entering university studies was the same and that living conditions were similar between the groups.
Conclusion: These individuals who were resuscitated at birth and who demonstrated various degrees of neonatal encephalopathy suffered either brain injury that could be diagnosed at 18 mo of age or managed as well as their non-resuscitated peers in terms of educational achievement and social adjustment at young adult age.