Aggarwal, R., Deorari, A.K. & Paul, V.K. Indian J Pediatr (2001) 68: 1149. doi:10.1007/BF02722933
Perinatal asphyxia is one of the common causes of neonatal mortality. Data from National Neonatal Perinatal database suggest that perinatal asphyxia contributes to almost 20% of neonatal deaths in India. Failure to initiate or sustain respiration after birth has been defined as criteria for the diagnosis of asphyxia by WHO. Perinatal asphyxia results in hypoxic injury to various organs including kidneys, lungs and liver but the most serious effects are seen on the central nervous system. Levene’s classification is a useful clinical tool for grading the severity of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Good supportive care is essential in the first 48 hours after asphyxia to prevent ongoing brain injury in the penumbra region. Strict monitoring and prompt correction is needed for common problems including temperature maintenance, blood sugars, blood pressure and oxygenation. Phenobarbitone is the drug of choice for the treatment of convulsions.