Aim: Neonatal encephalopathy (NE) is associated with an increased risk of multi-organ injury. The lack of standardised definitions for multi-organ dysfunction in NE hinders accurate quantification of these complications.
Methods: A simple multi-organ dysfunction in neonatal encephalopathy scoring (MODE) system was created to include the cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, haematological and neurological systems with a maximum score of 15. The MODE score was then compared with the grade of NE, Bayley Scales of Infant Development (Bayley-III) at 2 years of age and mortality. The Bayley score was used as it gave an objective score making it easier to compare the MODE score. Bayley score of <90 and/or abnormal MRI as an adverse outcome.
Results: Infants with perinatal asphyxia (PA:n = 85) were prospectively enrolled (PA only n = 9; NE I = 23; NE II = 42; NE III = 11). Infants with higher MODE scores were significantly more likely to have moderate/severe NE (NE II/III: median scores (IQR) 7(5-10) versus mild NE 2 (1-3); p-value < 0.001) The MODE score was highly predictive of mortality (AUC 0.96, p-value = 0.002). Infants who had an abnormal neurological examination at discharge or abnormal Bayley-III scores had significantly higher MODE scores (p-value = 0.001).
Conclusion: Quantifying multi-organ injury is important to plan optimal early management and long-term follow-up. Additional use of clinical biomarkers may be useful as surrogate endpoints in future clinical trials and link to multi-organ longer-term developmental follow-up.