Objective: Determine the baseline incidence of birth asphyxia in neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) survivors in a developing country and the early neurodevelopmental outcomes of such infants.
Study Design: This cross-sectional, prospective study collected diagnostic and examination findings on all infants seen in the University of Zambia NICU follow-up clinic over a 4-week period.
Result: Of the 182 infants, 42 (23%) had a clinical diagnosis of birth asphyxia. Of 42 infants with birth asphyxia, 13 (31%) had an abnormal neurologic examination during the clinic visit; in contrast, 13 of 141 infants without birth asphyxia (9%) had an abnormal examination (odds ratio 4.4, 95% confidence interval: 1.8, 10.4).
Conclusion: Birth asphyxia survivors account for almost a quarter of NICU survivors in a developing country and half of those with an abnormal neurologic examination. Studies are necessary to determine the percent of birth asphyxia survivors who have permanent motor and cognitive disabilities.