The Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

November 12, 2012

The Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Hypoxic ischemic is the condition in which the brain is not receiving enough oxygenÂ… not just to some parts of the brain but the entire brain itself.

Definition: Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is where the brain is not getting enough oxygen. This disorder refers to an oxygen shortage to the entire brain instead of some of the brain. While the term is applied to newborns who sustained a brain injury, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy also describes all injuries that come occur from low oxygen.

You should understand that this condition can be deadly. After all, in just five minutes of oxygen deprivation, the brain cells begin to die. The disease will also result in long-term damage including the following things:

  • Delayed development

  • Intellectual disability

  • Cerebral palsy

  • Seizures

What Causes Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

There are a number of reasons why hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy occurs. Basically, any health condition or injury can result in oxygen deprivation in the brain. Some of the common causes for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy are:

  • Complication or injury during birth

  • Respiratory failure

  • Drug overdose

  • Cyanide poisoning or carbon monoxide

  • Drowning

  • Ruptured or blocked blood vessel

  • Strangulation

  • Very low blood pressure

  • Lack of oxygen because of smoke inhalation

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

  • General anesthesia

  • Cardiac arrest

  • Choking

  • High altitudes

  • Trachea compression or injury that results in decreased ability to breathe or causes breathing to stop

  • Conditions that result in respiratory organs or muscles paralysis

What are The Risk Factors For Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Any complication, condition or injury that results in the brain having less blood or oxygen is a factor for the condition.

What Are The Symptoms Of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Mild cases of this condition include:

  • Extreme exhaustion

  • Euphoria

  • Lack of coordination

  • Lack of judgment

  • Inability to pay attention or concentrate

Serious cases of this condition include:

  • Coma

  • Lack of any brain stem reflexes – only blood pressure or heart functions work

  • Seizures

How Do Doctors Diagnosis Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Doctors begin to diagnosis this condition by doing a physical exam first. The history of your health is one important factor for doctors to make their diagnosis. However, the following tests may also be used:

  • MRI scan

  • CT scan

  • Blood tests

  • Ultrasound

  • Electrocardiogram EKG, ECG

  • Echocardiogram

  • Electroencephalogram EEG

  • Evoked Potential Test

What Is The Treatment For Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Treatment for this condition depends on the cause, along with the severity of brain damage. Some treatment options include:

  • Mechanical ventilation

  • Cooling

  • Circulatory system treatments

  • Life-sustaining treatment

  • Hyperbaric oxygen treatment

  • Seizure control

There are many cases where hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is totally unexpected and not preventable. To keep long-term brain damage from occurring, CPR should be administered.

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