If you suffered through a difficult birth of your son or daughter, doctors may inform you that your newborn could be facing some health problems. As such, you may be wondering what ischemia in the brain means. This condition occurs when the brain does not receive oxygen-rich blood, potentially leading to brain damage.
Some types of brain ischemia result in temporary damage to the brain, while others can lead to permanent brain damage. Doctors have a few options for trying to treat this condition, including medication, surgery, and therapy.
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Brain Ischemia and Stroke in Infants
Although ischemic stroke is not common in infants, if doctors caring for the baby during delivery and after birth make a mistake, this could lead to the condition.
From the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, roughly 25 out of 100,000 newborns suffer a stroke.
When ischemia occurs in an infant’s brain, it means the baby’s brain is not receiving blood with the proper levels of oxygen. Typically, some sort of blockage or clot is preventing the blood from reaching the brain.
As this occurs, the tissues and cells in the brain may suffer some damage. Minor damage is temporary in nature and can be alleviated with therapies. In more severe cases, it can result in permanent damage to the brain, leading to disability or even death.
Suffering a Stroke
During a difficult delivery, doctors need to keep an eye on the baby’s vital signs to ensure ischemia is not a possibility. Some of the symptoms that a doctor will watch for if they suspect ischemia include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Blindness or problems in one eye
- Loss of movement in one side of the body
- Weakness in the body
- Extreme fatigue
Doctors who suspect the possibility of a brain ischemia will order a series of tests to look for any abnormalities. If the diagnosis is confirmed, the doctor may choose to use medication to try to break up the initial clot and prevent additional clots from forming. In a serious case, doctors may order surgery to remove a clot.
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Blood Clots in the Brain
When a blood clot forms in the blood vessels of the brain, it can cause brain damage. This damage could result in a temporary loss of brain function in a condition called transient ischemic attack (TIA). Sometimes, the baby may be able to recover on his or her own or with the use of therapy after suffering a TIA.
An ischemic stroke is much more serious. It results in permanent damage to brain tissue, including the death of brain cells. It can lead to lifelong disability in newborns, or it could cause a fatality.
Formation of Cerebral Palsy
With an ischemic stroke, additional complications could occur for the infant that may affect him or her forever.
For example, an ischemic stroke could cause brain damage that leads to the formation of cerebral palsy in infants. Cerebral palsy is brain damage that affects the baby’s ability to control his or her muscles, affecting motor skills forever.
This condition could form if the baby suffers a stroke while in the womb or during or after the delivery. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 1.5 and 4 live births per 1,000 worldwide end up with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.
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Types of Ischemia
When an infant is suffering from ischemia, it will be defined by how it affects the brain. The two types of ischemia include:
- Global ischemia: a condition where large areas of the brain are being deprived of oxygen in the blood, and it usually occurs when the infant suffers some sort of heart problem.
- Focal ischemia: a condition that affects a small area of the brain, and it usually occurs because of the formation of a blood clot that blocks oxygenated blood from reaching that portion of the brain.
Focal ischemia is more common after a birth injury than global ischemia.
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So, what does ischemia in the brain mean? If your baby has suffered a stroke during the delivery process or immediately after, your infant could be suffering from ischemia.
Doctors need to be on the lookout for the possibility of brain ischemia after problems during birth. The sooner a doctor discovers this problem; the better chance treatments will have of saving the baby’s life and minimizing the long-term effects of the stroke.
If you believe the medical personnel caring for your baby during and after birth made an error or behaved negligently, resulting in the brain damage and ischemia for your infant, you have the right to seek damages for pain, suffering, and medical bills. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529 for a free consultation today.
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