In an effort to provide brief, short answers to a variety of Cerebral Palsy questions, we are starting a series of blog posts that attempt to provide quick information on topics that our families care about the most. Today’s post looks to answer, “what is Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?”
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, also known as HIE, is a brain injury caused when the brain is deprived of oxygen during labor and delivery. The condition is also known as intrapartum asphyxia and is a condition that can have a variety of impacts on a newborn baby. While a baby can go for short periods of time without oxygen during labor, significant damage can result from asphyxia lasting too much time and result in the permanent destruction of brain tissue.
Nearly 1 in 10 cases of Cerebral Palsy can be attributed to Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, with other cases coming about as a result of birth complications, including premature birth or problems involved in the delivery of a child.
Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy most commonly occurs in full-term infants, but can also occur in premature deliveries. Degrees of severity for HIE differ based upon the area and amount of the brain that’s impacted, as well as the age of the child; for babies delivered at 35 weeks gestation or earlier, Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy can lead to brain damage or Periventricular Leukomalacia, also known as PVL.
If your child has undergone neuroimaging and/or MRIs that have led to a diagnosis of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy or Periventricular Leukomalacia, please feel free to contact us at your convenience to learn about the resources we have available for your child and family. The MyChild organization is dedicated to making resources (including kits, resources and other useful info) readily available of parents whose children are facing a CP diagnosis, including one based upon Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy or Periventricular Leukomalacia.