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Recognising risk of neonatal encephalopathy with advancing gestation in nulliparous women is crucial for case review
  1. Malcolm Battin1,
  2. Lynn Sadler2,
  3. Meghan Hill2
  1. 1 Newborn Services, Te Whatu Ora, Te Toka Tumai, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand
  2. 2 Women’s Health, Te Whatu Ora, Te Toka Tumai, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence to Dr Malcolm Battin; malcolmb{at}

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In neonatal encephalopathy (NE), establishing the history includes scrutiny of the perinatal events contributing to the infant’s condition. For births initially considered ‘low risk’ but resulting in peripartum hypoxia, it is crucial to perform interdisciplinary case review. The neonatal perspective (although retrospective) is valuable, but the denominator of healthy babies is not reviewed, only the injured, so hindsight bias should be recognised. Nevertheless, we must consider potential opportunities to act differently and mitigate, particularly if clear risk factors were underappreciated at the time.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee (PMMRC) collects national data on NE.1 Annual reports include clinical and demographic factors, which facilitate case review to document contributing factors and potential preventability.2 The PMMRC report1 documents …

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  • Funding This study was funded by Health Research Council of New Zealand (Clinical Practitioner Research Fellowship (20/030)).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.