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What Is Transient Hypoxia and What Are Its Symptoms?

Transient hypoxia refers to when the brain doesn’t get adequate oxygen for a temporary period of time. In newborns, even a time period as brief as 30 minutes of hypoxia is enough to disrupt the brain’s normal health and development. 

This information was compiled from government sources, educational non-profits, and medical experts.

To learn more about transient hypoxia, keep reading.

What Is Transient Hypoxia and What Are Its Symptoms?

Transient hypoxia refers to when the brain doesn’t get adequate oxygen for a temporary period of time. In newborns, even a time period as brief as 30 minutes of hypoxia is enough to disrupt the brain’s normal health and development. 

This information was compiled from government sources, educational non-profits, and medical experts.

To learn more about transient hypoxia, keep reading.

Transient Hypoxia of Newborns

Hypoxia refers to when a region of the body is deprived of adequate oxygen. The tissue in our body requires oxygen to maintain a healthy, functional state. If deprived of oxygen, the tissue can become damaged. 

From the time a baby is born through the first few weeks, the baby’s levels of oxygen saturation steadily increases. Within a few weeks, the baby’s oxygen saturation should match or be similar to adult values. 

Transient hypoxia in newborns is a disruption to the normal pattern of healthy adaptation to life outside of the womb. 

Transient hypoxia in newborns is related to hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), as both conditions involve inadequate oxygen flow. However, HIE can be distinguished from transient hypoxia in that HIE is characterized by a lack of adequate oxygen carrying blood flow to the brain. Transient hypoxia is characterized by its temporary nature, which can come and go, whereas HIE is typically one event and can include a prolonged duration of trauma. 

Symptoms of Transient Hypoxia

In newborns, the symptoms of hypoxia vary depending on the severity, regularity, and timing of the hypoxia. During the first two to three weeks, the symptoms can include brief periods of hyperventilation (quick, gasping breaths) followed by a period of hypoventilation (slow or shallow breaths). 

Beyond three weeks, hypoxia results in longer periods of hyperventilation. 

Transient Hypoxia Causes Growth Impairment

A recent study in 2019 suggests that the risk of transient hypoxia is growth impairment to brain cells. In previous studies, scientists and medical professionals have hypothesized that impactful hypoxia episodes resulted in tissue death (or brain cell loss). 

This new study suggests that perhaps the effects of transient hypoxia in newborns are better characterized as stunting the growth of the brain cells, causing them to fail to mature normally. The study concludes that because the cells fail to mature normally, the cells are limited in long term potentiation. In other words, the cellular process by which the brain learns is limited. 

Sources

Keywords, A., Keywords, I., Keywords, M., Voices, E., Month, A., & Expert, A. et al. (2020). Neonatal hypoxia: physiology. Openanesthesia.org. Retrieved 23 April 2020, from https://www.openanesthesia.org/neonatal_hypoxia_physiology/

Lack of oxygen doesn’t kill infant brain cells. (2020). ScienceDaily. Retrieved 23 April 2020, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190829150708.htm

About Brown Trial Firm

Getting help for a child with HIE or Cerebral Palsy can make a big difference. Because early intervention is often key to helping improve a child’s wellbeing, it’s important to act swiftly.

At the Brown Trial Firm, our birth injury attorneys can help you investigate your case, find answers to your questions, and determine whether you are entitled to compensation. 

We offer case reviews at no cost or obligation. Many birth injuries that cause cerebral palsy could have been prevented. Don’t wait, get help today. Call us toll free at +1 (866) 223-7465 or email us a [email protected]rowntrialfirm.com.

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