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Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)

Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy, or HIE, is a brain dysfunction that occurs when the blood flow or oxygen to the baby’s brain is cut off. As a result, the baby suffers from asphyxiation. Without access to oxygen, brain damage can be sustained in a range of severities. While the types of brain damage can differ, Cerebral Palsy is a common occurrence. However, medical professionals have all the tools needed to rescue a baby during asphyxiation. Monitoring heart rate gives clear signs if the baby is under distress, and there are a number of emergency procedures that can be enacted if the baby’s oxygen has been cut off.

Symptoms of possible hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy include a lack of reaction to sights or sounds, or overstimulation to these sensory influences. There may be signs of organ challenges or failure, may they be of the liver, heart, kidneys, or blood. They also may have a weak cry, feeding problems, and breathing problems. The damage is dependent on the length of time that the baby was cut off from oxygen.

There is an extensive list of potential causes of HIE, but some of the most common include:

  • Failure to properly monitor the fetal heart. The heart is a sure indicator of if the baby is under distress. Without proper monitoring, the medical team will have been unable to know if the baby needed an emergency delivery.
  • Placental complications, such as the detachment of the placenta from the uterus or placental insufficiency, when the baby is not provided with enough blood
  • Umbilical cord complications