What is included in supportive care of infants with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)?

Updated: Jul 18, 2018
  • Author: Santina A Zanelli, MD; Chief Editor: Dharmendra J Nimavat, MD, FAAP  more...
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Most infants with severe hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) need ventilatory support during the first few days after birth. Although animal data suggest that permissive hypercapnia may be neuroprotective, no such evidence is available in newborn. Therefore, the role of mechanical ventilation is to maintain the blood gases and acid-base status in the physiologic ranges and prevent hypoxia, hyperoxia, hypercapnia, and hypocapnia. Hypocapnia in particular may lead to severe brain hypoperfusion and cellular alkalosis and has been associated with worse neurodevelopmental outcomes. Of note, evidence indicates that increased FiO2 in the first 6 hours of life is a significant risk factor for adverse outcomes in infants with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy treated with hypothermia therapy. This association is independent of underlying respiratory pathology and further emphasizes the benefit of resuscitation and stabilization with room air in this patient population. [69]

Infants with HIE are also at risk for pulmonary hypertension and should be monitored. Inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) may be used according to published guidelines if pulmonary hypertension is suspected. [70]

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