Anoxic Brain Injury refers to when the brain fails to receive oxygen; it is an acquired (not traumatic) brain injury. Cells in the brain require oxygen (carried by the blood), in order to survive and function properly.
Anoxic Brain Injury Types
Anoxic Brain Injury can be divided into three types:
- Anoxic Anoxia Brain Injury is when the brain is injured because no oxygen is supplied; it may be caused by extreme altitudes.
- Anemic Anoxia Brain Injury is when the brain is injured because the blood does not carry enough oxygen.
- Toxic Anoxia Brain Injury occurs when the brain is injured because toxins prevent the brain from using oxygen.
Causes of Anoxic Brain Injury
Common causes of anoxic brain injury include:
- Electrical shock
- Heart attack
- Compression of the trachea
- Brain tumors
- Respiratory conditions
Cognitive Problems: Anoxic Brain Injuries
Anoxic brain injuries that are labeled “cerebral hypoxia” or “hypoxic-anoxic” can lead to cognitive problems, disabilities and even death. Some cognitive problems that can result from these anoxic brain injuries include:
Short term memory loss: Patients with anoxic brain injuries, specifically a hypoxic-anoxic injury, often experience short term memory loss. The patient will not remember new information that has just been presented. The area of the brain that acquires new information, known as the hippocampus, is very sensitive to a lack of oxygen.
Poor performance in judgment, reasoning and information processing: The patient with a hypoxic-anoxic brain injury may become impulsive, indecisive and unable to concentrate on more than one task.
Anomia: The patient may also struggle using words or processing what they mean. The patient may place a word out of context or use its opposite. For instance, they may refer to the weather as “rainy,” when they meant to say “sunny.”
Visual disturbances: A patient with hypoxic-anoxic brain injury may have difficulty processing visual information. They may have trouble focusing or have difficulty reaching and grabbing objects. In rare cases, cortical blindness can result from a hypoxic-anoxic brain injury. In cortical blindness, the person’s eyes are normal, but they cannot see because their brain cannot process visual information. However, patients with cortical blindness may act as they can see because the injured area of the brain cannot recognize that is has been damaged.
Anoxic Brain Injuries: Physical Problems
Physical problems associated with anoxic brain injuries include:
- Lack of coordination
- Inability to perform daily tasks, such as drinking or brushing the hair
- Movement disorders
- Quadriparesis (weakness in the limbs)
- Mood changes
- Hallucinations and delusions
Recovering from an anoxic brain injury depends on the type and severity of the brain injury. Patients who fall into a coma or vegetative state following an anoxic brain injury have a minimal chance of survival. Those suffering from a moderate anoxic brain injury have a better prognosis, but recovery may take years. Finally, patients with a mild case of anoxic brain injury typically make a full recovery.
If you or a loved one has suffered an anoxic brain injury, you may be able to collect compensation for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. To speak with a brain injury attorney about your potential lawsuit, fill out our free case review form on the right.