Objective: This study was undertaken to determine the value of a neonatal encephalopathy score (ES) and the presence of seizures for predicting 30-month neurodevelopmental outcome.
Study design: In a cohort study, 68 term newborn infants with encephalopathy were evaluated with an ES based on alertness, feeding, tone, respiratory status, reflexes, and seizure activity (range: 0-6). Seizures were noted as present or absent clinically. Significant cognitive deficits (Mental Development Index <70), motor disability (spastic triplegia/quadriplegia), or death were abnormal outcomes.
Results: Twenty-two newborn infants (32%) had abnormal outcomes. With the use of maximum ES and presence of seizures from days 1 to 3 of life, 87% of newborn infants were correctly classified (area under receiver operating curve 0.93). By using ES and presence of seizures on day 1 only, 87% of newborn infants were correctly classified (area under receiver operating curve 0.89).
Conclusion: The severity of neonatal encephalopathy and the presence of seizures are valuable predictors of 30-month neurodevelopmental outcome, as early as the first day of life.