What is Hypoxemia?

what is hypoxemia

Hypoxemia is a low level of oxygen in the blood.  It is distinguished from hypoxia [LINK: What is Hypoxia], a partial restriction of oxygen to an organ or tissue, including the brain.  Some people, even some doctors, use the terms interchangeably.  Because oxygenation of the brain and other tissues requires good oxygenation of the blood, hypoxemia can sometimes lead to hypoxia.

Hypoxemia can be caused by anemia, which is deficiency of red blood cells.  It can also be caused by uteroplacental insufficiency, or placental abruption.  When the placenta cannot deliver proper amounts of oxygen to the baby, the baby’s blood will likewise be under-oxygenated.  This can cause injury to the baby.

Effects of Hypoxemia

We all need oxygen to survive and thrive.  The oxygen is carried by our blood to our brain, organs and other tissue.  When the blood is not properly oxygenated, these organs and tissue can suffer from oxygen deprivation.  During short periods of time, that deprivation is of no consequence.  However, for a longer period of time, the effects on the body can be devastating and permanent.

For a developing baby, prolonged lack of oxygen can cause developmental delays, and even cerebral palsy.

Contact Us

Our birth injury lawyers regularly examine medical records to determine whether a baby was deprived of oxygen around the time of labor and delivery.  If your baby was born with physical or mental injuries at birth, contact our birth injury malpractice lawyers at (855) 712-7818, or online for a free consultation.  We have the medical expertise to evaluate your labor and delivery medical records—at no cost to you.

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