Long-term mortality and morbidity after birth asphyxia

Project: Research

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Birth asphyxia is broadly defined as a condition of impaired blood exchange from the placenta to the fetus during birth which leads to hypoxemia and hypercapnia. A number of risk factors have been identified of which intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) seems to play the strongest role in antepartum factors whilst intrapartum emergencies, such as placental abruption or uterus rupture, can led to a fourfold increase. 
Delivering a neonate that has undergone severe and prolonged lack of oxygen during birth can have potentially life-threatening consequences for the infant in question. Thankfully, Scandinavia enjoys some of the lowest rates of perinatal asphyxia 0.5-0.6% (defined as pH < 7.00 and Apgar < 7 at 5 minutes) alongside some of the best documentation in its birth registers in the world. 
However, throughout the world, four to nine million newborns suffer from birth asphyxia each year. Of these, an estimated 1.2 million will die soon after birth and an equivalent portion will go on to develop debilitating neurological conditions like cerebral palsy, epilepsy and intellectual delay. Thus, birth asphyxia continues to be a major cause of mortality and morbidity in newborns. It has been shown that newborns with a pH <7.00 in the umbilical cord artery and an Apgar score <4 at 5 min run a 50% risk of developing cerebral palsy (CP) later in life. 
We hypothesize that the analysis of cord blood gases may help identify asphyxiated infants at risk for permanent neurological damage/death already at birth when most clinical and radiological signs are still absent. Our overall aim is to relate diseases, handicaps and other sequelae diagnosed later in life to birth asphyxia, as determined by umbilical cord blood gases.
Effective start/end date2020/01/01 → …

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