Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy is a brain injury that can impact many different parts of the brain. In many cases, it can be difficult to know exactly what impairments a child will have as they age, because, although the brain injury itself does not evolve or worsen, it may have secondary effects that evolve as the child grows and matures. Sometimes issues like learning disabilities or cognitive delays may not always show up until the child reaches early adolescence. We’ve compiled a short list of conditions that have been associated with HIE, in order to help parents learn about, anticipate and prepare for potential health concerns.
It is important to remember, however, that each child’s case of HIE is different. Some cases of HIE (if properly treated with hypothermia therapy and other treatments) may cause cognitive rather than visible physical functional effects on a child, while in other cases, a child may have more severe outcomes, including global developmental delays and cerebral palsy.
There are ways to support the development of a child with HIE, particularly:
- Hypothermia therapy within the first six hours of birth
- The use of Early Intervention services and intensive therapy to help maximize a child’s abilities
Some preliminary research finds that stem cell therapy can help some children with HIE, though research is still in the early stages and is not always broadly available thus far. Some parents choose to have their children undergo stem cell therapy outside the borders of the United States, but this requires careful evaluation, and such unregulated practices may have risks.
The following conditions and injuries may occur alongside or as a result of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Please click through to learn more about these injuries and conditions:
- Cerebral Palsy
- I/DD (Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities)
- Learning Disabilities
- Fetal Stroke
- Intracranial Hemorrhages (Brain Bleeds)
- Epilepsy, Seizures and Seizure Disorders
- Speech Delays and Language Disorders
- Behavioral and Emotional Disorders
- Hearing and Vision Limitations
- Nutritional Concerns
- Oral health
- Neurologic and Mental Health Concerns
- A Need for Orthotics
- Skin Health Concerns
- Orthopedic Conditions
- Respiratory Conditions
- Sensory Processing Issues
The effects of some of these conditions can be mitigated with optimal treatment and therapy, and supportive equipment and devices. To learn more about existing and potential future HIE treatments and therapies, please see our section on treatments and therapies for HIE.