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Hypoxic – Ischemic Encephalopathy following perinatal asphyxia is the cause of a huge
burden of neurological disability, mostly in low and middle income countries, where the
incidence of this condition is calculated to be near 5 to 10/1000 live births. Actually, there
is widespread use of prophylactic anticonvulsants to prevent further neuronal injury potentially
caused by seizures, but little is known about the real benefits of this therapy in
death rates or neurological sequelae of perinatal asphyxia.
Key messages
 Neonatal encephalopathy is a common feature in the clinical presentation of birth
asphyxia and it is directly related to neonatal mortality and long term neurological
 Long term neurological sequelae of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy after birth asphyxia
- Cerebral palsy
- Mental retardation
- Epilepsy
 There is no evidence that indicates that early use of anticonvulsants in term infants,
following perinatal asphyxia, leads to improvement in mortality rates or severe neurodevelopmental
 Current studies evaluating mortality and long term neurological sequelae of birth
asphyxia lack of sufficient power and methodological quality to detect the real effect
of anticonvulsants on these critical outcomes

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