What is HIE?
Hypoxic-lschemic Encephalopathy (HIE) is the brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain, known as perinatal asphyxia. If the asphyxia lasts too long, brain tissue is destroyed. Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy due to fetal or neonatal asphyxia is a leading cause of death or severe impairment among infants. Such impairment can include epilepsy, developmental delay, motor impairment, neurodevelopmental delay, and cognitive impairment. Often the severity of impairment cannot be determined until a child is several years old.
How frequent is HIE?
About 2% of newborns in high income countries show clinical and/or biochemical signs of perinatal asphyxia. Of these, about 20-30% have significant HIE and will progress to develop clinical symptoms. For the EU, with about 5 million deliveries per year, this translates into about 100 thousand cases of perinatal asphyxia of which 20-30 thousand will progress to clinical HIE if not treated appropriately.