Objective: Our aim was to determine whether right ventricular (RV) dysfunction at 24-hour postnatal age predicts adverse developmental outcome among patients with hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) undergoing therapeutic hypothermia (TH).
Design: Neonates≥35 weeks with HIE/TH were enrolled in a physiological study in the neonatal period (n=46) and either died or underwent neurodevelopmental follow-up at 18 months (n=43). The primary outcome was a composite of death, diagnosis of cerebral palsy or any component of the Bayley Scores of Infant Development III<70. We hypothesised that tricuspid annulus plane systolic excursion (TAPSE) <6 mm and/or RV fractional area change (RV-FAC) <0.29 would predict adverse outcome.
Results: Nine patients died and 34 patients were followed up at a mean age of 18.9±1.4 months. Both indices of RV systolic performance were abnormal in 15 (35%) patients, TAPSE <6 mm only was abnormal in 4 (9%) patients and RV-FAC <0.29 only was abnormal in 5 (12%) patients (19 had with normal RV function). Although similar at admission, neonates with RV dysfunction had higher cardiovascular and neurological illness severity by 24 hours than those without and severe MRI abnormalities (70% vs 53%, p=0.01) were more common. On logistic regression, TAPSE <6 mm (OR 3.6, 95% CI 1.2 to 10.1; p=0.017) and abnormal brain MRI [OR 21.7, 95% CI 1.4 to 336; p=0.028) were independently associated with adverse outcome. TAPSE <6 mm predicted outcome with a 91% sensitivity and 81% specificity.
Conclusions: The role of postnatal cardiovascular function on neurological outcomes among patients with HIE who receive TH merits further study. Quantitative measurement of RV function at 24 hours may provide an additional neurological prognostic tool.