Infant Brain Damage Diagnosis

Oxygen Deprivation: Big Cause of It

Many cases of brain damage happen as a result of the child being deprived of oxygen at birth. Normally, this happens during the process of delivery, and the child gets stuck in the mother’s pelvis. Remaining too long in the birth canal can result in oxygen deprivation. It may be a partial or total lack of oxygen, but either way can be quite damaging to the child. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is one method that can be used in an attempt to treat patients with cerebral palsy. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen delivered to the cells in the body. Through this method, the goal is to decrease the effects of the damages done to the brain. However, this is not always successful.

Jaundice: Brain Damage

Jaundice can at times cause brain damage in infants.  While jaundice in itself isn’t normally harmful, if the bilirubin levels in the infant’s bloodstream reach high levels, it can turn into a condition known as kernicterus. This rare form of brain damage happens when the bilirubin buildup reaches a critical stage that endangers the life of the child. The doctor and healthcare team have a responsibility to monitor the child and treat jaundice before it reaches this critical point. Jaundice can be prevented from developing into kernicterus through careful monitoring and treatment. The first 24 hours after a child has been born with jaundice will be the most critical, but you should still continue to monitor even after 24 hours.

Maternal Infection

Mothers also have to keep a close eye on infections that they might have because it can negatively impact the fetus. Some of the maternal infections that can lead to brain damage include:

  • Influenza
  • Rubella
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Syphilis
  • Herpes
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea

It is important to understand that prevention is key. Unfortunately, some infant brain injuries are unpreventable. Because of that, it is essential to routinely screen pregnant women for infections and obtain routine prenatal care,  to help prevent a resulting birth disorder. Some birth disorders can turn into a lifetime disability, and you want to avoid this if at all possible.

Expert

Elena Amato Borrelli, Expert

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