Cerebral ischemia in the newborn, the consequences

Cerebral ischemia in newborns is a type of brain damage that occurs in babies when there is insufficient supply it with blood and oxygen. This is a dangerous condition that requires immediate treatment.

The brain badly needs a continuous supply of blood which delivers the oxygen required for the metabolism of glucose. Without oxygen, the brain suffers from hypoxia, which can lead to cell death. Effects of hypoxia of the brain can be very severe, including cerebral palsy, developmental disorders and neurological pathology.

Causes of cerebral ischemia

Unfortunately, in infants there are many causes of brain ischemia. Scientists and doctors say that newborns are especially vulnerable during childbirth, although they can suffer from hypoxia before and after birth. Antenatal brain ischemia in the fetus can cause:

  • The presence of diabetes in the mother.
  • Problems with blood circulation in the placenta.
  • Preeclampsia.
  • Heart disease.
  • Congenital infection of the fetus.
  • The abuse of drugs and alcohol.
  • Severe anaemia of the fetus.
  • Pulmonary defects.

Causes of cerebral ischemia during childbirth:

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  • Excessive bleeding from the placenta.
  • Very low blood pressure in the mother.
  • Problems with the umbilical cord.
  • Long labor.
  • Abnormal position of the fetus.
  • Placental abruption or uterine.

The most common causes of postpartum cerebral ischemia:

  • Severe heart or lung disease.
  • Infections, including sepsis and meningitis.
  • Severe prematurity.
  • Low blood pressure in the newborn.
  • Brain injury
  • Congenital malformations of the brain.

The clinical picture of cerebral ischemia in infants

Immediately after birth, to suspect the presence of the baby is hypoxic brain damage is possible by the following features:

  • Meconium contaminated amniotic fluid.
  • Low heart rate in the infant.
  • Poor muscle tone in the child.
  • Weak breathing or no.
  • Bluish or pale skin.
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The clinical picture of cerebral hypoxia in newborn depends on the severity of ischemia. In cerebral ischemia 1 degree experience the following symptoms:

  • Slightly increased muscle tone in infants.
  • Enhanced deep tendon reflexes (they only checks the doctor).
  • Temporary behavioral disturbances such as poor appetite, irritability, constant crying, or sleepy.
  • Symptoms disappear, usually within 24 hours.

In cerebral ischemia 2 extent you experience the following symptoms:

  • The baby is lethargic, his muscles have decreased tone.
  • Deep tendon reflexes are weakened (they only checks the doctor).
  • Occasionally, a child may experience temporary periods of apnea (stop breathing).
  • During the first 24 hours after birth can cause convulsions.
  • Complete recovery occurs within 1 to 2 weeks, long-term prognosis is favorable.

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Cerebral ischemia 3 degrees in infants is characterized by the following symptoms:

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  • Disturbances of consciousness to the level of stupor or coma. A newborn may not respond to any physical stimuli.
  • Breathing may be irregular, often baby needed mechanical ventilation.
  • Generalized hypotonia of muscles.
  • The lack of normal baby reflexes, such as sucking, swallowing, grasping (their presence or lack of checks by the doctor).
  • Disorders of eye movements (e.g. nystagmus).
  • The pupils may be dilated, fixed, respond poorly to light.
  • Severe seizures that are resistant to therapy.
  • Arrhythmias and fluctuations in blood pressure.
  • Recovery takes several weeks or even months; often remain irreparable consequences.

Diagnosis of cerebral ischemia in newborns

The diagnosis of cerebral ischemia is established on the basis of anamnesis, physical and neurological examination, laboratory and instrumental tests. To confirm the diagnosis apply ultrasound examination of the brain, magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography and examination of the retina.

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Possible complications of cerebral ischemia

The consequences of cerebral hypoxia in the fetus or newborn baby can haunt him for the rest of my life. Easy cerebral ischemia virtually leaves no long term complications. Moderate to severe brain hypoxia in infants dangerous violations of consciousness, spastic cerebral palsy, delayed physical and mental development of the child, occurrence of epilepsy, cognitive impairment.

Treatment of cerebral ischemia

Doctors there are many methods used for treatment of cerebral ischemia in infants. Selection of appropriate treatment depends on the cause and severity of the brain damage. The main goal of treatment is to maintain the affected organs of the newborn. The methods used include:

  • A ventilator to help children who can’t breathe on their own.
  • Cooling of the brain or body of the child with the intent of treating hypoxia caused by high temperature.
  • General anesthesia, sedation and drug therapy of seizures.
  • Support heart function and blood pressure control in infants.
  • Control of blood glucose level.
  • The elimination and prevention of brain edema.

Prevention of cerebral ischemia

Cerebral ischemia is a vivid example of what’s better to prevent disease than to treat its consequences. In severe hypoxia brain at birth, a person can be a lifetime to suffer from its complications. Prevention of cerebral ischemia begins even before pregnancy. Women and men planning to have a baby, should long before this to lead a healthy lifestyle, not Smoking and not abusing alcohol.

During pregnancy the expectant mother should eat well, avoid bad habits, to regularly visit the doctor, undergo all the recommended tests. At the time of birth should you choose a qualified obstetrician-gynecologist and follow his instructions. After delivery you should carefully watch your child, and when any doubt, immediately contact a doctor.

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