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Re: help
Posted By CCF NEUROSURGERY MD on October 06, 1997 at 12:04:45:

In Reply to: help posted by Debbie King on September 28, 1997 at 23:04:18:

: I posted this on the regular med forum and they sugggested I post it here as they were stumped:

Could someone plese tell me what hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy is. We have a 4 month old little boy who has a diagnosis of that. He also has diabetic cardiomyopathy. He is a little boy we are adopting and he was born 1 month early with respiratory failure, profound hypoglycemia, and hypotension. He also has a heart murmur. His birth mother had maternal gestational diabetes, methamphetimine use and was a heavy smoker. She also had no prenatal care. Our baby did go thorugh methamphetamin withdrawal after birth.
I am giving all this history because I thought it might be helpful in answering my question. We received some paper work today that had the above diagnosis on it and had never heard of that before. If anyone can help I would be very grateful.
Dear Debbie,
Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy simply means that this child has had an event
where his brain was unable to get enough oxygen to function correctly.  It
does not speak to the severity or duration of the event.  There are certain
areas that are more susceptible to ischemia, or lack of oxygen, but there
may be more areas involved.  The effect, again, is variable, depending on
the severity of the event.  It sounds like this child has had a number of
problems that predated birth.  Many of these problems are developmental and
are likely related to the mother's history of gestational diabetes, drug
abuse, etc...
The effect of the hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy on the child remains to
be seen as the child develops.  It may be mild or it may be profound.  A
more complete assessment of prognosis would best be left to the physicians
taking care of the child.  
Good luck.
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