AIM: To describe the incidence, type and severity of cerebral palsy at 24 months in a regional cohort of infants treated with whole-body therapeutic hypothermia for neonatal encephalopathy.
METHODS: Data were collected prospectively in a regional centre providing TH. Antenatal and perinatal clinical variables and severity of encephalopathy were collected. Infants were assessed at 18 months using the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development-III, and the presence and severity of CP was investigated at 24 months.
RESULTS: A total of 125 of 132 infants fulfilled entry criteria for TH trials and completed 72 h of TH. Sixteen (13%) of the 125 infants died, and eight (6%) were not available for follow-up. Eighteen infants (14%; 18% of those assessed) developed CP. Of these, 12 (67%) were classified using the Gross Motor Function Classification System, at level 1, six (33%) at level 5 and none at levels 2, 3 or 4.
CONCLUSION: Our regional clinical cohort had lower mortality and comparable rates of CP compared with historical outcomes in TH trials. In contrast to historical cohorts, only one-third of the 18 children with CP were severely affected and 12 were mildly affected, all of whom were independently ambulant by 24 months.