The question for today’s discussion is will all HIE babies develop CP, or cerebral palsy? To state the issue another way, how often is CP associated with HIE? In today’s discussion we will discuss HIE and CP in general and the percentage of babies that might develop a subsequent CP diagnosis.

With the above stated, please remember that this is general information and that for your baby’s specifics should be discussed with your doctor(s).

What Is HIE & How Is It Defined?

HIE stands for hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. In our context HIE is defined as a reduction in blood and oxygen which leads to an injury to the brain. HIE is a type of traumatic brain injury and for some babies, 40-60% will die by age 2 or have severe disabilities. For parents who have a baby with an eventual HIE diagnosis, the family might notice the following immediately after birth or soon after:

  • Resuscitation (help breathing)
  • Discoloration (i.e., purple, or blue)
  • Seizures
  • NICU Handoff

With some babies, APGAR scores at the 1, 5, and 10-minute intervals might be low based on the assessment of the medical professionals in the delivery room at the time. In addition to APGAR scoring, umbilical cord gas reports might suggest that a hypoxic event occurred. Finally, as for treatment options, hypothermia cooling might be administered under certain situations. Although hypothermia cooling can be used as a treatment for HIE, it cannot be confused for a cure.

Will All HIE Babies Develop CP?

CP can be defined as a movement disorder. According to some literature, CP is the most common movement disorder in the world, with a prevalence of 1.5-4 instances per 1,000 live births. Because HIE is a type of brain injury, depending on the area, or areas of the brain injured, movement can in some instances be impacted.

One report on the issue of HIE and CP found that around 20% of babies diagnosed with HIE will go on to have a subsequent CP diagnosis.

Thanks for reading from your friends at HIE Resource Place.