Willens Law Offices Articles Therapeutic Hypothermia for Birth Injuries - Chicago Birth Injury Attorney

Therapeutic Hypothermia for Birth Injuries - Chicago Birth Injury Attorney

By Matthew Willens  Nov. 4, 2016 11:18a

Therapeutic hypothermia is a practice of reducing the body’s temperature below normal, or cooling the body below the normal required body temperature. Some studies have shown that this practice may be beneficial for those who have suffered a brain injury. In this post, our Chicago birth injury lawyer will discuss how therapeutic hypothermia is used for the treatment of birth injuries.

Does therapeutic hypothermia help?

While drugs and other medical therapies focus on healing one single process in the brain, therapeutic hypothermia works on more than one process of the brain, thus buying time for other medical procedures without the worry of causing further brain damage. For example, after an individual suffers from any Traumatic Brain Injury, the brain releases certain chemicals that can further damage brain tissue. Some studies suggets therapeutic hypothermia may be able to restrict the release of these chemicals, and at the same time reduce intracranial pressure in the brain that has the ability to cause further brain damage.

Therapeutic brain damage and secondary injuries

Secondary injuries are injuries that are induced or triggered by the first trauma that causes the brain injury. Often secondary injuries are considered more severe, because they often lead to death and severe permanent damage. Some of these secondary injuries include –

  • Ischemia, or insufficient flow of blood to brain
  • Hypoxia, or insufficient oxygen supply to the brain
  • Swelling in the brain tissue
  • Increase of carbon dioxide in the brain
  • Meningitis and related infections in the brain.

Some experts believe therapeutic hypothermia has shown good prognosis in reducing the effects of, and even preventing secondary injuries. These experts claim therapeutic hypothermia should ideally be induced within two hours of the injury for best results.

Therapeutic hypothermia for birth injuries

Therapeutic hypothermia has proved to be beneficial for treating birth injuries too. According to the National Institute of Health, therapeutic hypothermia has shown improvements in infants who have hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, a condition that results due to lack of oxygen in the brain. This is sometimes caused due to injuries caused during difficult labor. About 15 to 20 percent of infants developing HIE do not survive.

Therapeutic hypothermia may have the ability to reduce the chances of severe brain injury by about 25 percent, in term-born infants demonstrating poor transition and low APGAR scores. These scores are early indicators of HIE. Therapeutic hypothermia, however, may show the best results among infants with birth injury induced brain damage if the therapy is administered within a few hours of birth.

Among infants, therapeutic hypothermia can be used in the following conditions to prevent brain damage –

  • Foetal heart abnormalities during labour
  • Meconium found in amniotic fluid during delivery
  • Long, difficult and exhaustive deliveries
  • Size of the baby is too large or too small for gestational age
  • Decrease in oxygen levels in the mother
  • After delayed C-sections
  • Deprivation of oxygen to the baby due to umbilical cord issues
  • Preeclampsia
  • Anaemia in baby
  • Premature births.

While medical practitioner can opt for therapeutic hypothermia in these cases, they should ensure close monitoring of the infant.

Contacting a birth injury lawyer

Any injury caused to a new born baby can have severe consequences, especially if the infant has suffered any trauma to the brain or any condition that may compromise brain functions. However, many medical practitioners fail to conduct a correct diagnosis or provide proper post-natal care, leading to debilitating consequences. If your child has suffered a birth injury, speak with an experienced birth injury lawyer at WIllens Law Offices to learn more about your legal rights. Call us today at (312) 957-4166 for a free and private case evaluation.

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