Brain ischemia is a serious medical complication that may cause an infant to suffer disabling or even deadly brain damage. Newborn brain ischemia may be diagnosed through a physical examination of the baby’s body, blood tests, and imaging tests, including an MRI, CT scan, or ultrasound.
Prompt diagnosis and treatment of brain ischemia may help to prevent permanent brain damage.
Brain Ischemia in Infants
Brain ischemia is characterized by reduced blood flow to the brain. When the brain does not receive enough oxygenated blood, the brain tissues can become badly damaged and the patient may suffer a stroke.
This can lead to a host of medical problems, including:
- Physical disabilities
- Neurodevelopmental disabilities
- Cerebral palsy
- Seizure disorders
- Learning impairments
- Impaired hearing or vision
- Infant death
According to a study published in Emergency Medicine International, approximately 10 to 25% of pediatric stroke victims pass away from their injuries. Approximately 66% experience neurological impairments, seizure disorders, learning difficulties, and/or developmental delays.
Correctly Diagnosing and Treating Brain Ischemia May Minimize Brain Damage
Typically, newborn brain ischemia is diagnosed through medical testing. If brain ischemia is caught by doctors quickly, they may be able to take steps to prevent permanent brain damage.
Any delay in diagnosis and treatment may increase the chances of the baby dying or suffering life-long disabilities. Sadly, brain ischemia or ischemic stroke is often deadly. Johns Hopkins University reports that stroke is one of the top 10 causes of death in children.
Recognizing the Physical Signs of Infant Stroke
The first step in diagnosing infant ischemic stroke is usually a physical examination of the infant’s body. Unlike adults, infants cannot communicate their symptoms to doctors.
Doctors and other medical staff must use a combination of physical examinations and medical tests in order to diagnose ischemic stroke. The sooner the problem is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can be initiated.
Physical signs of infant brain ischemia include:
- Sudden jerking movements or seizure
- Excessive sleepiness
- Difficulty making sounds
- Problems with vision
- Lack of feeling on one side of the body
If doctors do not recognize the signs of reduced blood flow to the infant’s brain, the infant may have little chance of avoiding long-term health consequences.
Imaging Tests that May Be Used to Diagnose a Stroke
Infant brain ischemia occurs when blood flow to the brain is restricted by blockages in the infant’s arteries. Imaging studies of the blood vessels and brain may allow doctors to detect and treat blockages involved in infant brain ischemia or pediatric stroke.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): an MRI uses magnets and radio waves to show images of the brain. MRI may be used to see the location and severity of brain tissue damage.
- Computed tomography (CT scan): during a CT scan, X-rays and computers are used to create images of the inside of the head from several different angles. A CT scan may show doctors the locations of blood injuries.
- Catheter angiogram: during this procedure, a small tube is placed into the baby’s blood vessels and a contrast agent is added so that arteries and veins may be visible on an X-ray.
- Echocardiogram: this procedure uses sound waves to display images of the heart.
- Blood tests: the baby’s blood may be drawn and tested for clotting problems or other issues.
Diagnostic Mistakes May Constitute Medical Negligence
A birth injury claim is a type of medical malpractice claim that can hold negligent healthcare providers accountable for the harm they cause patients during pregnancy or delivery.
Mistakes that may constitute medical negligence include:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Failure to order the appropriate medical tests
- Misinterpretation of test results
- Mishandling of blood samples
- Laboratory test mistakes
When medical mistakes result in misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of brain ischemia, an infant may suffer avoidable brain injury or death.
Contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group
If your baby suffered from brain ischemia due to negligent medical care before, during, or after their birth, you might have a valid birth injury claim. You may be compensated for medical bills, your child’s future medical costs, your lost wages from missed work, pain and suffering, and other damage.
However, you must file your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires. To learn more, contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group. Call (800) 222-9529 for a free case review today with a member of our team.