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Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is a condition in which a newborn’s brain does not get enough oxygen.
HIE can be fatal. Brain cells can start to die after 4 minutes without oxygen.
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There are many causes of HIE that may occur before or during labor and delivery. Any injury and many health conditions can also cause a lack of oxygen to the brain.
Having any of the above causes may raise your infant’s risk of HIE.
Symptoms in your infant may be mild to severe. They may include:
Symptoms may also involve other organs, such as the liver, kidneys, or the heart.
You will be asked about your infant’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your infant’s blood may be tested.
Images may be taken of your infant’s bodily structures. This can be done with:
The activity of your infant’s brain may be tested. This can be done with an EEG.
Talk with the doctor about the best treatment plan for your infant. Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the condition and the amount of damage to the brain. Options include:
In most cases, HIE is sudden and cannot be prevented.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Infant hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Birth Injury Guide website. Available at: http://www.birthinjuryguide.org/birth-injury/types/hypoxic-ischemic-encephalopathy-hie/. Accessed June 15, 2017.
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy of the newborn. London Health Sciences Centre website. Available at: http://www.lhsc.on.ca/Patients_Families_Visitors/Childrens_Hospital/Programs_and_services/Neurology/HIE.pdf. Updated January 2010. Accessed June 15, 2017.
Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE, also known as intrapartum asphyxia. CerebralPalsy.org website. Available at: http://www.cerebralpalsy.org/about-cerebral-palsy/cause/hypoxic-ischemic-encephalopathy. Accessed June 15, 2017.
Neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116449/Neonatal-hypoxic-ischemic-encephalopathy-HIE. Updated February 23, 2017. Accessed June 15, 2017.
What is HIE? Hope for HIE website. Available at: http://www.hopeforhie.org/whatishie. Accessed June 15, 2017.
Last reviewed August 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP