A question that is asked a lot of us deal with is there is a cure for HIE? Usually this question comes from families who have just been given in HIE diagnosis. It is during this time that parents can be initially confused about not only the condition HIE, but what caused this to happen. At the end of the day, HIE is a type of traumatic brain injury.

For today’s discussion we will talk about not only what is HIE, but what can cause it and possible treatment options immediately after the initial diagnosis following labor and delivery. Before moving forward, you must understand that as of the day of this article there is no cure for HIE.


HIE is the medical condition hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. In this context HIE is a reduced level of blood and oxygen which can lead to a brain injury in a baby. To help understand if a baby is having blood and oxygen problems during labor and delivery, doctors and nurses use the electronic fetal heart monitor to analyze a condition called fetal distress. Fetal distress can occur when a baby is no longer tolerating a vaginal delivery. One of the reasons why a baby will not tolerate a vaginal delivery is blood and oxygen compromise.

Fetal distress, which can lead to HIE, can be caused by multiple conditions during labor and delivery. For example, if there are problems with the umbilical cord, namely, cord compression, a baby can have a diminished amount of blood and oxygen. In addition to umbilical cord problems, any issues with the placenta can also lead to blood and oxygen problems for a baby. Maternal infections can also be problematic for a baby during labor and delivery. For example, the condition chorioamnionitis can be an issue during labor and delivery.


One treatment that can be used when HIE is suspected is hypothermia cooling treatment. Doctors look to use hypothermia cooling to lessen the severity of the brain injury. Cooling the baby is one way in which doctors look to achieve this result. With that said, remember what was discussed earlier, the cooling is a type of treatment and not a cure so to speak.

The treatment is performed within 6 hours of birth and must be done continuous for 72 hours. While the cooling is being performed, doctors and medical professionals can also provide other types of care to the baby as needed.

Hypothermia cooling works to cool the baby and slow down the spread of the injury to the brain. It cannot repair the damage that has already been done. With that said, other treatments and therapies like physical and occupational therapy can be of great assistance moving to help into the future.

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