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Lack of oxygen during childbirth linked to brain injury

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2022 | Birth Injuries

When a Texas infant suffers a brain injury during the birthing process, it has the potential to impact him or her for the rest of the baby’s life. Medical researchers and scientists have ramped up their research efforts regarding infant brain injuries in recent years and have identified causes and new treatment methods along the way.

Per UCLA Health, many infant brain injuries result from something called hypoxic ischemic encephalitis, which occurs when an infant fails to receive enough oxygen during childbirth.

Prevalence of infant brain injury

Studies show that HIE affects one or two infants out of every 1,000 born across the United States. About 15% of those experiencing HIE wind up dying from the condition. Up to 25% of them also experience permanent disabilities and neurodevelopmental impairments as a result of the HIE.

Treatment of infant brain injury

To help counter the effects of HIE, some medical professionals are relying on emerging treatment methods, including therapeutic hypothermia. A relatively new development in neonatal medicine, therapeutic hypothermia helps slow any brain damage taking place within the brain. The initial brain injury has the capacity to cause inflammation. Inflammation, in turn, may cause secondary brain damage for several days after the initial injury occurs. However, the cooling process involved in therapeutic hypothermia helps prevent inflammation and minimize the chance of associated problems developing.

Until recently, infants with HIE underwent treatment that focused on nutrition, oxygen and ventilation. Therapeutic hypothermia presents a new way to treat such cases and often helps minimize the impacts oxygen deprivation may have on a newborn’s brain.