It has long been demonstrated that there is a link between heart defects and slower brain development. However, a new study has uncovered that there is a direct connection between brain injuries in newborns who suffer from congenital heart disease and altered brain development.
Congenital heart disease (CHD) is a very common birth defect, affecting about one in every 100 newborns every year and causes more deaths in the first year of a child’s life than any other birth defect. It is also very common for children with CHD to have brain injuries and abnormal brain development. The understanding of the link between these two conditions is an important step.
This study was conducted through the use of MRI scans to examine 120 newborns who suffered from congenital heart disease. Brain injury severity was determined both before and after the newborns underwent surgery to correct the heat defect. Prior to the operations, researchers noticed a strong link between brain injuries and delayed brain development. This suggests that abnormal development in the brain may pave the way for future brain damage. However, the researchers did not discover a link to any new post-operation brain injuries, which suggests that such injuries are likely due to factors around or following the surgery.
Researchers hope this research will help develop strategies that promote optimal brain development in utero. This would include finding ways to aid brain maturation while in the uterus and ensuring that the infant maintains optimal brain blood flow after birth. MRIs would aid in this since they give health care providers a window to look at the developing brain of babies with heart defects.
While not all brain injuries are caused by medical negligence, if you believe that your child has suffered a brain injury due to the negligence of a health care professional, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to review your case.
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