A diagnosis of HIE and seizures is a topic that many families who contact us have experienced. The context of this discussion generally revolves around as the seizures evidence of an injury to the brain, especially early in the process. For many of these families, this is the first time they have had any encounter with anything like this and it can all be confusing. This is because a condition like HIE, or hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is not something that is readily discussed during pregnancy.


For today’s article, we will discuss the condition HIE and the manifestation of seizures from a medical legal standpoint. As a birth injury, or birth trauma attorney, these are issues we explain to families in their quest for answers.




As mentioned above, HIE is the medical condition hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. The basic breakdown of the condition in our context is a reduced level of blood and oxygen which can lead to a brain injury. There can be multiple things which can cause this reduction in blood and oxygen. For example, if the umbilical cord becomes compressed then this can lead to problems with the flow of blood and oxygen to the baby. In addition, if there are placenta related issues then that can also lead to blood and oxygen issues. Genetic and developmental issues can also lead to blood and oxygen problems.


During labor and delivery if there are problems with oxygen, then the fetal heart monitor will display these issues. Fetal distress is a medical condition which can be the result of blood and oxygen problems. For example, deceleration patterns might result or there may be problems with variability. When these types of readings are present, doctors and nurses must accurately diagnose the fetal distress and treat accordingly.


HIE And Seizures


Seizures, in this context can be identified as a type of abnormal brain activity. The abnormal activity can be caused by the traumatic brain injury. For example, any type blooding in the brain, or swelling in the brain can trigger seizures. In some instances, the seizures are the result of the brain being injured. Below are some of the types of seizures that a baby can suffer following a brain injury:


  • 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.


If you have more questions about your baby’s diagnosis of HIE and seizures, this is what I invite you to do. Pick up the phone and call me. I speak with families all the time about these issues and I would be happy to listen to your story.


Marcus B. Boston, Esq.

Boston Law Group, LLC

2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700

Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815



1-833-4 BABY HELP

Marcus Boston is a Maryland medical malpractice attorney who helps people navigate the Maryland childbirth injury and medical malpractice process to get money for their injuries caused by the carelessness of doctors and hospitals. BLG handles cases in Prince George’s County, Baltimore City, Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, and all other Maryland Counties. blgesq.com blgesq Maryland birth injury attorneys