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J Trop Pediatr. 1999 Oct;45(5):281-6. doi: 10.1093/tropej/45.5.281.

Acquired microcephaly after low Apgar score in Zimbabwe.

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Children's Rehabilitation Unit, Mpilo Central Hospital, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.


Serial head circumference measurements were made on 165 African babies born with a 5 min Apgar score of 5 or less. Measurements were taken at birth and at 4, 9, and 12 months of age. In the majority of infants the onset of microcephaly could be diagnosed as early as 4 months of age. Twenty-five of the 142 infants were microcephalic at 1 year. Neurological development was impaired in 19 of the 25 (76 per cent) microcephalic infants and in 18 of the 117 (15 per cent) normocephalic infants. Fourteen of the 16 (88 per cent) infants with severe quadriplegia developed microcephaly before the age of 4 months. A decreased rate of head growth during the first 4 months of life in African infants born with a low Apgar score correlates closely with the development of microcephaly. Infants with an acquired microcephaly have a high probability of developing neurologic impairment by the age of 1 year. Serial head circumference measurement in low Apgar score babies in developing countries is an easy, simple, and inexpensive method to detect microcephaly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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