Outcome of resuscitated apparently stillborn infants: a ten year review

J Paediatr Child Health. 1994 Apr;30(2):129-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.1994.tb00596.x.


This study addresses the dilemma of whether to attempt resuscitation of the previously undiagnosed fresh stillborn infant and evaluates factors predictive of survival and long-term outcome. We reviewed the clinical spectrum, immediate complications and long-term outcome of 45 successfully resuscitated apparently stillborn infants (34 term, 11 preterm) who were admitted to the Intensive Care Nursery. Significant obstetric and intrapartum events were identified in 34 (75%) infants while 11 (25%) had no apparent risk factors. Of the 39 infants with neonatal complications, 37 had hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE: Sarnat stage 1 in 5, stage 2 in 15, stage 3 in 17); 12 (27%) had oliguria, 10 (22%) had hypotension, 7 (16%) experienced hypoglycaemia, 4 (9%) had disseminated intravascular coagulopathy (DIC) and 1 (2%) had persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN). Fourteen infants (31%) died in the neonatal period and four (9%) died during infancy. Risks of death and adverse neurodevelopment were significantly increased in infants with stage 2 or 3 HIE (P < 0.005). Follow-up assessment of 24 of the 27 surviving infants revealed a normal outcome in 15 (63%), severe disability in six (25%), moderate disability in two (8%) and mild disability in one (4%) infant. The positive predictive value of stage 2 or 3 HIE was 70% for mortality and 80% for morbidity. One-third (15/45) of successfully resuscitated apparently stillborn infants were normal at follow-up assessment and the outcome for these infants was predicted with complete accuracy by the stage of HIE present during the neonatal period.

MeSH terms

  • Apgar Score
  • Birth Weight
  • Child Development*
  • Disabled Persons
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia, Brain / complications
  • Hypoxia, Brain / psychology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Resuscitation*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity