To evaluate their prognostic value, five different non-invasive techniques were used on 34 full term infants with hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) within six hours of delivery. Cranial ultrasonography, the resistance index (RI) of the middle cerebral artery obtained with Doppler ultrasonography, somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs), visual evoked potentials (VEPs) and the cerebral function monitor (CFM) were used. According to the criteria of Sarnat, 11 infants developed mild, seven moderate, and 16 severe encephalopathy. The CFM had the highest positive (PPV 84.2%) and negative predictive value (NPV 91.7%). All but one of the infants with a continuous pattern had a good outcome. The CFM of 11 cases with a suppression-burst pattern changed to a continuous pattern over 24 to 48 hours in four infants, and was associated with a normal outcome in three. All five cases with an isoelectric CFM died. The SEPs also provided useful information (PPV 81.8%; NPV 91.7%). VEPs were often delayed during the first hours or life and did not carry a poor prognosis in five of 14 cases (PPV 77.3%). Both ultrasonography and Doppler RI were of little value, as they were almost always normal at this early stage. In 34 full term infants with HIE, studied within 6 hours of life, the CFM and SEPs provided the most useful information about the expected course of encephalopathy and subsequent neurodevelopmental outcome.
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