The Connection Between HIE and Cerebral Palsy

FREE CASE EVALUATION

You pay no fees unless we win your case

Yes. Please have an attorney, paralegal, or staff member from Pintas & Mullins law firm or their co-counsel contact me as soon as possible to discuss my questions. They may contact me by email or telephone (including phone calls, text messages, autodialed / auto-selected or pre-recorded calls). I understand that message and data rates may apply and that consent to such contact is not required for use of these services. I also agree to the Privacy Policy, Anti Fraud Policy and online Terms, including its mandatory arbitration provision.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Causes and Risk Factors for HIE

The exact cause of HIE is not always known but can include medical conditions such as cord prolapse, uterine rupture, abruptio placenta, placenta previa, maternal hypotension, breech presentation, or shoulder dystonia.

There are several risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing HIE, including:

  • Maternal hypertension (high blood pressure) or hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Infant heart problems
  • Issues with the uterus or placenta
  • Difficulties during childbirth, such as an injury from the umbilical cord
  • Emergency cesarean section
  • Lack of blood flow to the child’s brain during childbirth
  • Poor oxygen supply to the baby during pregnancy
  • Trauma during childbirth
  • Fetal stroke
  • Medical negligence

HIE Symptoms and Clinical Presentation

While every child is different, common hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy symptoms include:

  • Unusually aware and highly alert or very low energy
  • Seizures
  • Breathing difficulties
  • No interest in feeding
  • Not responding to sounds
  • Reflex or muscle problems
  • Organ failure
  • Slow heart rate
  • Skin is blue or extremely pale
  • Absent or depressed reflexes
  • Low apgar score (3 and under) lasting longer than five minutes

Depending upon what part of the baby’s brain is damaged, symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Healthcare providers who note these symptoms shortly after birth can perform a variety of medical tests to confirm a diagnosis of HIE. These include:

  • Blood test to check the amount of oxygen in the child’s blood
  • Umbilical cord or placenta tests
  • Lumbar puncture that tests the cerebrospinal fluid for infection
  • Ultrasound of the brain to look for fluid buildup or bleeding
  • EEG to check for electrical activity in the child’s brain
  • Brain MRI which can indicate which parts of the brain have been damaged

The Link Between HIE and Cerebral Palsy

Complications that arise from HIE include:

  • Developmental disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Learning problems
  • Cerebral palsy

One of the most common causes of cerebral palsy is HIE. Quite often, a child diagnosed with HIE at birth does not receive a diagnosis of cerebral palsy until months or even years later, when they start to show developmental delays.

HIE Prevention and Early Intervention

Strategies intended to reduce the risk of oxygen deprivation at birth can take place during pregnancy, childbirth, and immediately after a child is born. These include:

  • Regular prenatal care
  • Maintaining maternal health during pregnancy including refraining from drinking, smoking, or using drugs
  • Managing maternal conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, and infections
  • Fetal monitoring during labor
  • Emergency interventions such as cesarean section if there is fetal distress
  • Birth induction planning for high risk pregnancies

HIE Treatment Approaches

Treatment options for children diagnosed with HIE vary depending upon their age, general health, and the severity of their condition. If an infant receives an HIE diagnosis at birth, treatment may include:

  • Therapeutic hypothermia for infants with HIE that is considered moderate to severe. Given within six hours after birth, the treatment consists of utilizing a cooling system to lower the child’s body temperature to 91.4°F to 95°F for up to 72 hours. The objective of this HIE treatment is to improve the child’s chances of survival and lower the risk of developmental issues later in life.
  • Supportive care which can include oxygen, a ventilator to assist with breathing, or medication to treat seizures or other health problems.

HIE Prognosis and Long-term Effects

The long term prognosis for children with an HIE diagnosis can vary depending on the severity of their condition. While some children do not suffer any lasting effects, others who present with all four function disability categories (motor, cognitive, visual, and hearing) have a 50% chance of surviving to age 13. Approximately 25% have a life expectancy up to the age of 30.

According to Cerebral Palsy Guidance, research indicates that about 15% of babies born with HIE will also receive a cerebral palsy diagnosis.

Pintas & Mullins Birth Injury Attorneys Can Help

If your child received an HIE diagnosis and you believe their condition was a result of medical malpractice, the birth injury attorneys at Pintas & Mullins can help. We’ve negotiated settlements and litigated hundreds of birth injury cases and collected millions for our clients. We have years of experience with these types of lawsuits and are intent on seeking justice for you and your child. Contact us for a free assessment of your case. Call or text 800-934-6555 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form online to get started today.

Main Office

368 W Huron St, Suite 100
Chicago, IL 60654
Open: Mon – Sun 8:30am – 7:00pm

Injured?
Tell Us What Happened.

We are here to ensure that your voice is heard. If you or a loved one was wrongfully injured, we want to hear about it. Contact us today and we’ll review your case for free.

Yes. Please have an attorney, paralegal, or staff member from Pintas & Mullins law firm or their co-counsel contact me as soon as possible to discuss my questions. They may contact me by email or telephone (including phone calls, text messages, autodialed / auto-selected or pre-recorded calls). I understand that message and data rates may apply and that consent to such contact is not required for use of these services. I also agree to the Privacy Policy, Anti Fraud Policy and online Terms, including its mandatory arbitration provision.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.