Hypoxic Brain Injury

A hypoxic-ischemic injury is the result of a lack of oxygen, which causes damage to brain cells and the spinal cord. This type of brain injury is most common before, during, or after childbirth, with statistics citing that two to four of 1,000 births result in hypoxic-ischemic injury. But while this type of brain injury is relatively rare, it can cause permanent brain damage and even death.

Causes of Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury

While the exact causes of hypoxic-ischemic injury are unknown, some studies have linked placenta issues, maternal blood pressure problems, maternal uterine rupture, and umbilical cord complications to the injury. Symptoms include seizures and other signs of brain damage following childbirth.

Detecting and Diagnosing Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury

While hypoxic-ischemic injury has been studied frequently, a definitive way to prevent it or detect it before it does permanent damage to the newborn is still unknown. Because hypoxic-ischemic injury shares symptoms with other childbirth-related issues, it can be very difficult to diagnose in a timely manner. 

Prognosis of Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury

Approximately 15 to 20 percent of newborns with hypoxic-ischemic injury will die shortly after birth. Of those that survive the injury, about 25 percent will face lifelong neurological problems such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, epilepsy, and learning disabilities.