Fresh stillborn and severely asphyxiated neonates share a common hypoxic–ischemic pathway

Hege L. Ersdal, Joar Eilevstjønn, Jørgen E. Linde, Anita Yeconia, Estomih R. Mduma, Hussein Kidanto, Jeffrey Perlman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To characterize, among non-breathing flaccid neonates at delivery, immediate heartrate and responses to ventilation in relation to the clinical diagnosis of fresh stillbirth (FSB) or early neonatal death (END) within 24 hours. Methods: The present cross-sectional study included all deliveries at Haydom Hospital in rural Tanzania between July 1, 2013, and July 31, 2016. Ventilation parameters and heartrate were recorded by monitors with ventilation and dry-electrocardiography sensors. Perinatal characteristics were recorded on data forms by trained research assistants. Results: Among 12 789 neonates delivered, 915 were ventilated; among ventilated neonates, there were 53 (6%) FSBs and 64 (7%) ENDs. Electrocardiography was used in 46 FSBs and 55 ENDs, and these neonates were included in a subanalysis. Initial heartrate was detected in 27 (59%) of 46 FSBs and 52 (95%) of 55 ENDs, and was lower in FSBs (52 ± 19 vs 76 ± 37 bpm; P=0.003). More ENDs responded to ventilation (53% vs 9%; P<0.001), with heartrate increasing above 100 bpm. Heartrate at ventilation discontinuation was higher among ENDs (115 ± 49 vs 52 ± 33 bpm; P<0.001). Conclusion: Progression to FSB or END after intrapartum hypoxia/anoxia is probably part of the same circulatory end-process. Distinguishing FSB from severely asphyxiated newborns is clinically difficult and probably influences estimated global perinatal mortality rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-180
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Birth asphyxia
  • Early neonatal death
  • Fetal monitoring
  • Fresh stillbirth
  • Helping Babies Breathe
  • Neonatal resuscitation
  • Perinatal mortality
  • Perinatal outcome


Dive into the research topics of 'Fresh stillborn and severely asphyxiated neonates share a common hypoxic–ischemic pathway'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this