Damage of thalamus and basal ganglia in asphyxiated full-term neonates

Neuropediatrics. 1987 Aug;18(3):176-81. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1052475.


Thalamic-striatal damage of symmetric bilateral distribution was found in four severely asphyxiated neonates born at term. Two patients showed evidence of bilateral thalamic-striatal necrosis and two showed hemorrhage of the same distribution. The four patients had a common history of prolonged asphyxia in the neonatal period combined with severe acidosis and respiratory insufficiency. The outcome was lethal in all children. Three patients survived for some time and showed additional evidence of generalized brain damage including cortical necrosis and subcortical leucomalacia and one patient was found to have intravital calcification of the putamen at 14 days of age. The appearance of thalamic-striatal damage in US, CCT and NMR imaging is discussed. Thalamic-striatal damage may not be detectable by US until several days after the initial insult. US does not permit a distinction between necrosis and hemorrhage, but CCT and NMR imaging may be successful. Only five infants with a comparable pattern of brain damage due to asphyxia have been described so far. Our own studies seem to indicate that thalamic-striatal damage is the hallmark of more widespread brain damage, and that it will be found more frequently if carefully looked for in asphyxiated neonates born at term.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / diagnosis
  • Asphyxia Neonatorum / pathology*
  • Basal Ganglia / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Thalamus / pathology*
  • Ultrasonography