HIE is a rare condition that affects children during pregnancy, childbirth, or the post-neonatal period.
Birth injuries are associated with various conditions that affect infants. One condition associated with a birth injury is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is sometimes referred to as perinatal asphyxia or neonatal encephalopathy and is one of the most life-threatening conditions during childbirth. Read on to learn more about HIE, its fatality, and other important information.
What is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?
HIE is a brain condition in which a newborn’s brain does not receive adequate oxygen. It happens when the supply of blood and oxygen to an infant’s brain is interrupted or cut off during childbirth or pregnancy. The deprivation results in rapid decaying and eventual death of the brain cells. The injury can also be due to complications during pregnancy, labor, and delivery or post-neonatal periods.
Is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Fatal?
HIE is fatal and is one of the main contributors to infant mortality in the United States every year. Most of the infants who experience HIE during childbirth do not survive. Newborns who survive suffer permanent brain damage and other disabilities.
Causes of Is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
HIE is attributed to a lack of blood and oxygen flow to a newborn’s brain caused by obstetric complications during pregnancy, labor, childbirth, or the post-neonatal period.
Potential complications during labor that can result in HIE include:
- Alcohol or drug use
- Congenital fetal infections
- Fetal Anemia
- Blood Flow Issues in the placenta
Problems that can lead to HIE in newborn babies during labor and delivery are:
- Placenta abruption
- Uterus rupture
- Excessive placenta bleeding
- Low blood pressure in the mother
- Complications in the umbilical cord
Complications that can cause HIE in infants during the postnatal period include the following:
- Brain or skull trauma
- Cardiac arrest
- Respiratory failure
- Serious heart disease
- Severe lung disease
While some of these complications can happen accidentally, some can be due to carelessness or negligence by medical practitioners and caregivers. Therefore, it is advisable to contact an HIE – hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy lawyer if your child’s condition is caused by another person’s mistake. Your attorney could build you a medical malpractice case based on the evidence you provide.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy/
The signs and symptoms of HIE vary depending on the parts of the brain that are affected and the severity of the condition. The common signs and symptoms include:
- Abnormal tendon reflexes
- Stiff muscles
- Excessive crying
- Feeding issues
- Missing muscle tone (hypotonia)
- Abnormal blood pressure
- Cardiovascular and respiratory failure
- Abnormal breathing
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Treatment
The most common treatment for HIE is therapeutic hypothermia, also known as the body and head cooling. The treatment option works by reducing the child’s body temperature to 33.5 degrees Celsius within the first six hours of birth. The cold temperature slows down the decay of the brain cells to reduce the long-term effects of HIE.
Besides therapeutic hypothermia, children with HIE undergo other treatments and therapies to improve their quality of life. The treatment and therapy options will depend on the effects of HIE on a child.
Physical therapy is often used to help a child affected with HIE develop motor skills. Occupational therapy is significant in empowering a child to increase independence and conduct day-to-day tasks. Massage therapy is usually considered when needed to improve blood circulation, relieve stress, and reduce pain.
At the same time, recreational therapy is used to help a child participate in fun activities. Other common therapy options include stem cell therapy and recreational integration therapy. Cerebral palsy treatment is also a common option for HIE complications because children with the condition develop cerebral palsy.
HIE is a rare condition that affects children during pregnancy, childbirth, or the post-neonatal period. Although it is fatal, some children survive it. Treatment options like therapeutic hypothermia, physical therapy, and a cerebral palsy regimen can help alleviate it. In case you have a malpractice case, you should consult with a specialized law firm to help you seek compensation.