Pathological findings in the temporal bone of newborn infants with neonatal asphyxia

Acta Otolaryngol. 2005 Oct;125(10):1028-32. doi: 10.1080/00016480410023092.


Hypoxia in adults frequently causes damage to the brain, but not the inner ear. However, hypoxia in neonates with inadequate blood-inner ear barrier function causes damage to the inner ear, leading to hearing loss and equilibration disorder. Clinically, asphyxiated neonates sometimes have the complication of sensorineural hearing impairment at high frequencies. Many reports suggest that this problem is caused by hypoxic encephalopathy. However, it is not clear whether inner ear disorders are present. In this report we examined the inner ear pathology of four asphyxiated neonates using serial sections of temporal bone. The subjects (n=4) were 1-13-day-old neonates with pregnancy periods of 24-36 weeks. Their fetal growth curves were within the normal range. There was one case each of twin pregnancy, placental abruption, placenta previa and meconium aspiration syndrome. For the case of severe neonatal asphyxia, damage to the inner ear included the degeneration and disappearance of outer hair cells of the organ of Corti and edematous changes in the stria vascularis. Degeneration of spiral ganglion and vestibular ganglion cells was observed in two of the other cases.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Organ of Corti / pathology*
  • Temporal Bone / pathology*