Published online Feb 28, 2016. doi: 10.4329/wjr.v8.i2.117
Peer-review started: September 1, 2015
First decision: September 29, 2015
Revised: October 11, 2015
Accepted: December 9, 2015
Article in press: December 11, 2015
Published online: February 28, 2016
Lesions of the brainstem have been reported in the clinical scenarios of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), although the prevalence of these lesions is probably underestimated. Neuropathologic studies have demonstrated brainstem involvement in severely asphyxiated infants as an indicator of poor outcome. Among survivors to HIE, the most frequent clinical complaints that may be predicted by brainstem lesions include feeding problems, speech, language and communication problems and visual impairments. Clinical series, including vascular and metabolic etiologies, have found selective involvement of the brainstem with the demonstration of symmetric bilateral columnar lesions of the tegmentum. The role of brainstem lesions in HIE is currently a matter of debate, especially when tegmental lesions are present in the absence of supra-tentorial lesions. Differential diagnosis of tegmental lesions in neonates and infants include congenital metabolic syndromes and drug-related processes. Brainstem injury with the presence of supratentorial lesions is a predictor of poor outcome and high rates of mortality and morbidity. Further investigation will be conducted to identify specific sites of the brainstem that are vulnerable to hypoxic-ischemic and toxic-metabolic insults.
Core tip: Brainstem tegmental lesions in neonates with hypoxico-ischemic encephalopathy: Magnetic resonance diagnosis and clinical outcome.