Diffusion tensor imaging on teenagers, born at term with moderate hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

Pediatr Res. 2005 Nov;58(5):936-40. doi: 10.1203/01.pdr.0000186516.85702.61.


Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is graded with three levels of severity-mild, moderate and severe. The outcome of individuals with mild and severe grades can be reliably predicted from this scheme. Individuals with moderate degree are divided in outcome between those who suffer major neurologic problems (e.g., cerebral palsy) and those who are assumed to recover from the incident. It is however not clear if the recovery is complete and unquestionable. A group of adolescents who had been born at term, diagnosed with moderate HIE but had not developed cerebral palsy, were investigated with diffusion tensor imaging. Fractional anisotropy maps were used as a basis of comparison to a group of controls of the same age and gender distribution. In several white matter areas fractional anisotrophy was lower in the group of individuals with a history of moderate HIE. These areas include the internal capsules (bilaterally in the posterior limb and on the right in the anterior limb), the posterior and anterior corpus callosum as well as frontal inferior white matter areas. These results indicate that even in the absence of such major neurologic impairments as cerebral palsy, moderate HIE causes long term white matter disturbances which are not repaired by adolescence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / pathology*
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / psychology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*