Some babies who have HIE may also suffer from seizures. In this educational post, we will examine the connection between the two disorders. HIE and seizure activity can sometimes occur hand in hand, not always, but sometimes.

What Is HIE? 

HIE is hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. Hypoxia is relating to inadequate supply of oxygen. Ischemia is regarding an inadequate blood supply. Encephalopathy is relating to the brain. So, in totality, HIE occurs when the supply of oxygen and blood to the brain is inadequate, meaning not enough.

HIE can occur through many ways. For instance: if there are problems with the umbilical cord or the placenta itself. These possibilities may limit the amount of blood and oxygen getting to the baby.

Uterine tachysystole could also cause issues. Tachysystole occurs when there are excessive and frequent contractions occurring during a certain period. Tachysystole does not allow the baby enough recovery time between contractions.

Once the supply of blood and oxygen is reduced a brain injury can occur.

What Are Seizures?

Seizures are uncontrolled bursts of electroactivity in the brain. Seizures are typically marked by shaking, jerking and possibly temporary loss of consciousness. In babies, sometimes seizures can be difficult to recognize, and the movements can be very subtle. When observing your baby after birth, it is important to know that there are different types of seizure activity that may follow a hypoxic event.

Subtle Seizures: These seizures can often be missed due to being difficult to recognize. The movement may be slight or marked by a fixed gaze, extended tongues, eyes rolling back and eyelid blinking or fluttering.  These are the most common seizure type in newborns.

Clonic Seizures: These seizures are marked by rhythmic jerking movements. This type of seizures usually affects the neck, arms and face.

Tonic Seizures: Tonic seizures usually occur with an increase in muscle stiffness. They can also consist of the baby rolling its eyes back or having breathing problems.

Myoclonic Seizures: These types of seizures typically include sudden muscle contractions and jerking movements. There is no rhythm or pattern to this type of movement.

HIE And Seizure Activity

As a reduction in blood and oxygen reaching the baby’s brain can cause HIE, the reduction can cause a brain injury. This brain injury can lead to seizures or alert that the brain has been injured.

In trying to prevent brain injuries, there are tools which can be used by hospitals, doctors, and nurses. These tools monitor the oxygen and blood perfusion of the baby during the laboring process. One major tool is the electronic fetal heart monitor. This device monitors the baby’s heart rate, along with mom’s contraction pattern among other things. It alerts the medical staff to how well the baby is tolerating a vaginal delivery. Problems can typically occur if the monitor is not properly checked, or signs of distress are ignored. HIE and seizure activity is something that must be taken seriously.

Thanks for reading, from your friends at HIE Resource Place.