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What is HIE?

When the brain is deprived of sufficient supply of oxygen, it causes brain cell injury. Some cells might just be able to recover but some of it may die. A very common cause for oxygen deprivation to our brain is the low oxygen levels in our blood or perhaps, the reduced flow of oxygen to our brain. This can just happen in various ways like before birth, during birth process, after birth and at times, even during childhood.

Perinatal asphyxia, perinatal encephalopathy, neonatal encephalopathy or birth asphyxia are actually some of the alternate diagnosis for this condition. In reality, HIE injury can happen in two stages, one of it is that it can happen almost immediately after oxygen deprivation and the other is when the normal oxygenated blood circulation has resumed to the brain. Fact is, this is also called as reperfusion injury by experts which could happen because the toxins are released from the damaged cells.

Many parents do wonder what HIE and how it happens. On the What part, you may be surprised that there are so many causes for HIE and these include near SIDS events, cardiac arrests, placental blood clots, aneurysm rupture, cord prolapsed, trauma during delivery, extremely low maternal blood pressure, true umbilical knots, placental abruption, uterine rupture, placental insufficiency, shoulder dystocia, cord compression, fetal maternal hemorrhage and maternal blood clotting disorders.

For the diagnosis of HIE in newborn baby, they do this by utilizing various diagnostic tools and one of it is Sarnat Scale. Basically, this is based on how the baby appears after an injury or birth or presentation at hospital. Apart from that, imaging technology can be used too in the diagnosis like MRI, ultrasound and EEG while other professionals check for the cord blood gas level.

Before devising a treatment plan for HIE, it will be necessary to know some criteria first. But in most cases, it helps a lot in reducing the reports of disability as well as death by doing cooling or therapeutic hypothermia. Whether you believe it or not, the cooling treatment is widely used. Of course, this is not the only available treatment you can use since there are many of them worldwide.

As for the therapeutic hypothermia, it can be done on the entire body or via the cooling cap that’s placed on the head. While the newborn is on their recovery period, they may be given with other medical intervention to support organs.

On the other hand, the rate of babies are diagnosed with HIE is quite a few on a ratio of 2 to 3 babies in every 1000 full term births are HIE affected every single year.
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