Background: Current recommendations to control the consequences of hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy following perinatal asphyxia include the careful management of fluids, with avoidance of fluid overload and thus avoidance of cerebral oedema. Recommendations for fluid restriction in a neonate are based on the experience of restricting fluid intake in adults or older children. The extrapolation from studies in adults, older children and animals to the human neonate is fraught with hazard due to the different physiology and mechanisms of injury.
Objectives: The objective of this review was to determine the effects of fluid restriction on short-term (mortality within the first 28 days of life, grade of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy, electrolyte disturbances, renal function, seizure activity) and long-term outcomes (death during the first year of life, CT or MRI changes, or severe neurodevelopmental disability at or equal to 12 months of age or more) in term infants following perinatal asphyxia. Subgroup analyses were planned on the basis of the severity of the resulting hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, degree of fluid restriction, and length of fluid restriction.
Search strategy: Searches were undertaken of MEDLINE October 2004 back to 1966, CINAHL back to 1966, the Oxford Database of Perinatal Trials and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trial (CENTRAL, The Cochrane Library, Issue 3, 2004). Searches were made of previous reviews including cross-references and abstracts. The search was not limited to the English language; reports in foreign languages were translated.
Selection criteria: Randomised or quasi-randomised trials of fluid restriction in term newborn infants with perinatal asphyxia.
Data collection and analysis: No studies were found meeting the criteria for inclusion in this review.
Main results: No studies were found meeting the criteria for inclusion in this review.
Authors' conclusions: Given that fluid restriction for the treatment of hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy following perinatal asphyxia is recommended in standard textbooks, there is a need for randomised, controlled trials to establish if this practice affects mortality and morbidity. As it may not be ethical to include neonates with acute renal failure in a randomised trial, these babies will have to be excluded from the trial. These studies should investigate the effects of fluid management on outcomes such as mortality, seizure activity, evidence of cerebral damage on histology, and effects on renal function and electrolytes.