Hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy
HIE is a brain injury seen in babies, caused by reduced blood flow (ischaemia) to this vital organ around the time of birth. Brain cells don’t survive for long in this state, so permanent brain damage and death can soon follow if it is not fixed.
In term infants, HIE is a leading cause of death and neuro-disability e.g. causing cerebral palsy, developmental delay, and epilepsy. The severity lies on a spectrum from mild to severe. Below is a visual summary of the signs and symptoms of HIE that may be seen during a medical examination:
Neurodisability such as epilepsy or developmental delay may take months or years to manifest. For this reason, examination findings at birth are a really important clue to determine if a baby has suffered a brain insult, and would benefit from an early intervention such as therapeutic hypothermia. This can limit the brain damage, so it is important to know and be able to act on examination findings!
These illustrations were created as part of an educational poster design for a Neonatology Doctor (and keen supporter of my art!), Dr Russell Pryce, who is researching this important pathology for their PhD.
That’s it for this one, have a lovely day!