Birth Injuries

How Do Doctors Diagnose Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy?

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy can be diagnosed with the assistance of imaging tests. [1] If a doctor suspects hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, tests will be ordered such as MRIs and other types of neuroimaging. Diffusion weighted imaging and MR spectroscopy are two specific tests that assist doctors in arriving at a diagnosis. These tests must be performed within a certain amount of time following the delivery in order it to be effective. Umbilical cord gas scores can also be helpful in providing a complete picture of a possible hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy diagnosis.

When doctors diagnose hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, it is vital to look out for certain signs in the child to make the correct differential diagnosis. For example, if the child had meconium-stained fluid, was blue in color at delivery, had to be rushed to the NICU, and suffered seizures, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy should be a possible diagnosis to be ruled out.

[1] Medscape Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

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