Which physical findings indicate CNS dysfunction in hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)?

Updated: Jul 18, 2018
  • Author: Santina A Zanelli, MD; Chief Editor: Dharmendra J Nimavat, MD, FAAP  more...
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Answer

Hip abduction may be seen with increased tone and even with decerebrate posturing (frog-leg posture). Another manifestation of CNS dysfunction in the neonatal period is increased axial extensor tone with arching of the back and neck extension or opisthotonus. Many infants simultaneously have decreased axial flexor tone (eg, major head lag on arm traction maneuver) and increased axial extensor tone. In many cases, limb and axial hypotonia are present for several months before increased axial extensor tone or limb spasticity can be detected. Increased active neck and trunk extensor tone are predictors of quadriparesis. Another sign of spasticity that can develop relatively early is scissoring, where the previously abducted legs extend, become rigid, and have extreme hip adduction such that they cross with stimulation or crying.


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