For some babies who have a HIE (hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy) diagnosis, they will also suffer with seizures. This is because in its basic form, a HIE diagnosis is a brain injury. The injury can come about in this context because of a reduced level of blood and oxygen, which leads to a brain injury. As for seizures, in some cases they can be the result of an injury to the brain.
In this birth injury educational article, I am going to discuss HIE and seizures, as sometimes the families who contact us with these types of situations have these issues present. In addition, I will further discuss the topic from a medical legal standpoint.
WHAT ARE SEIZURES?
As I stated above, seizures can be the result of an injury to the brain. Babies can suffer seizures following birth. There can be a lot of factors which can contribute to a baby suffering a seizure. With that said, the lack of blood and oxygen can cause injury to the brain, which can produce seizures. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and a prolonged labor due to shoulder dystocia, are but some of the ways in which a baby can develop seizures because of fetal hypoxia.
A seizure is an electrical disturbance in the brain which can lead to shaking, jerking, and even a temporary loss of consciousness. However, sometimes, seizures in babies can be subtle. Therefore, it is important to know the different types of seizures that a baby can suffer from. Below are some of the different types of seizures a baby might experience:
- Subtle Seizures: These types of seizures can sometimes be overlooked because they can be difficult to recognize. Eyelid blinking or fluttering, eyes rolling up, eye opening, and a fixed gaze can all be signs of subtle seizures. In addition, tongue protrusions can also be signs of subtle seizures. Subtle seizures are the most common type of seizure in babies.
- Tonic Seizures: Tonic seizures can be categorized as increased muscle tone, or muscle stiffness. Tonic seizures can consist of the baby’s eyes rolling up into their head and breathing problems.
- Clonic Seizures: Clonic seizures are defined by rhythmic jerking. These types of seizures usually affect the neck, face, and arms.
- Myoclonic Seizures: Sudden, muscle contractions and jerks define myoclonic seizures. They differ from clonic seizures in that the clonic seizures are more rhythmic, whereas myoclonic seizures do not have a rhythm to the jerking or twitching movement.
HIE AND SEIZURES
As I stated above, HIE in its basic form in this context is a reduced level of blood and oxygen, which leads to a brain injury. One way in which doctors and nurses can be on the look out for oxygen and perfusion issues during labor and delivery is through the help of the electronic fetal heart monitor. This device allows doctor and nurses to get a feel on how well a baby is tolerating a vaginal delivery. If a baby is not tolerating a vaginal delivery it can be suggested that the baby may be in fetal distress.
From a medical legal standpoint, problems can arise when doctors fail to diagnose the fetal distress, thus failing to provide the right treatment. When babies go too long in fetal distress, they can suffer a brain injury. In this context, the injury can usually be caused by blood and oxygen problems.
Parents may see their baby suffer seizure either shortly after delivery or while in the NICU. Doctors will work to treat the seizures and look to provide medications and other options to help the baby.
HAS YOUR BABY BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH SEIZURES FOLLOWING BIRTH?
If you have more questions regarding your baby’s seizures and HIE diagnosis you can call me, and we can talk more about your baby’s story. I speak with families all the time regarding birth trauma and brain injuries, as this is what we do.
You can reach me at 301-850-4832.
Marcus B. Boston, Esq.
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP