Hope for HIE – Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Hope for HIE – Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy


HIE & Cardiovascular Impact

February 12th, 2024  | Advocacy  | News


February is Heart Month and Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Month. As with every other system in the body, Neonatal and Pediatric-acquired Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE) can also impact cardiovascular health and function, and there’s also an overlap with Congenital Heart Defects and HIE (as well as other types of brain injury).

HIE can negatively impact the cardiovascular system, either transiently or intermittently in the NICU or PICU, immediately post-injury, or long term. It has also been associated with CHD.

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Congenital Heart Defect-related brain injury and HIE have some overlap as well. They have different mechanisms of disease, but sometimes CHD can lead to HIE, especially post-surgically where 30% of CHD patients show new issues their brain MRIs. And, CHD can cause cardiac arrest, which can lead to HIE.

Pre-surgical CHD neonatal patients also have noted brain injury in around 40% of babies, although this has been determined to be less associated with HIE, but also mild HIE is noted to be underdiagnosed. The MRIs have varying degree of impact and damage.

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Currently for HIE babies and children, there are no established guidelines of follow up to analyze potential long term impacts to the cardiovascular system.

Mortality with severely affected children in HIE is high, and sometimes the causation in childhood is unknown, or attributed to SUDEP, without really knowing which exact factors contributed to the child’s death. More research is needed in this area that could decrease mortality.

In addition, COVID infection can also cause cardiac-related issues in children, and there is very little research on the potential impacts of mortality and morbidity to medically complex children.

We strongly advocate for additional research to close these gap areas, which can lead to improved quality of life for children and families impacted by HIE.



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