Anoxic Brain Injuries

Anoxic Brain Injuries

Anoxic Brain Injuries
An anoxic brain injury occurs when there is a lack of oxygen going to the brain. When this oxygen deprivation occurs, brain cells can start to die within five minutes. Causes of anoxic brain injury can be blood clots, shock, heart problems, diseases, anemia and even lack of air at high altitudes. Coma, seizure and total loss of brain function can occur after several minutes. While rehabilitation can help some people with anoxic brain injury, many individuals with anoxic brain injury sustain persistent psychological and neurological problems. Learn more form our experts about anoxic brain injuries.

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    Anoxic brain injuries can be prevented by taking measures that reduce your risk of having the injuries or illnesses that can lead to oxygen deprivation. Carbon monoxide poisoning may be prevented by placing carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Chewing food slowly can help prevent choking. Drowning may be prevented by learning the basics of swimming and pool safety. Avoiding sources of high-voltage electricity can prevent electrocution. And eating healthfully and getting regular exercise can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

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    If you are recovering from an anoxic brain injury, you may be experiencing many cognitive, physical, and emotional symptoms. To manage these symptoms, it helps to have a team of rehabilitation professionals. Physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy may all play a part in your recovery and the management of your symptoms. Talking with a counselor can help you deal with any frustrations you may be having. Although the recovery process can be unpredictable, try to be patient. Improvements can be gradual and may occur over a period of months or years.

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    If you're caring for someone who has had an anoxic brain injury, keep in mind that the injury may cause emotional problems - like depression and irritability - as well as cognitive and physical ones. Recovery can be a slow, gradual, and often frustrating process. It can also be very unpredictable. Try to offer as much encouragement as possible. Support from loved ones and friends can go a long toward stimulating motivation and progress.

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    Anyone with symptoms of an anoxic brain injury needs to be seen by a doctor immediately. The underlying cause of the injury - such as cardiac arrest, for example - needs to be treated right away. Appropriate life-support systems - like mechanical ventilation - must be administered as soon as possible to help stabilize the body. The longer a person is deprived of oxygen, the worse the prognosis is for a successful recovery.

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    An anoxic brain injury usually starts with a loss of consciousness. The person may then enter a state known as "wakeful unresponsiveness." In this state, they do not respond to any external stimuli, but they are not comatose either. If the person regains consciousness again, they can experience a whole host of cognitive and physical symptoms. Cognitive symptoms may include short-term memory loss, visual disturbances, decision-making problems, confusion, concentration problems, and linguistic difficulties. The physical symptoms they may experience include weakness in the limbs, coordination problems, abnormal movements, and difficulties performing sequential tasks. Other symptoms may include hallucinations, mood disorders, irritability, and agitation.

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    Your doctor can diagnose an anoxic brain injury by assessing your medical history and performing a physical examination. Tests will be run to determine the cause of your anoxic brain injury. These may include an echocardiogram and an electrocardiogram to look for heart problems. An electroencephalogram, evoked potentials, and MRI can be used to check brain activity and look for brain injury. Your doctor may also order blood work to look for blood gases and to check your blood sugar level.

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    An anoxic brain injury can be classified into one of four categories based on what caused the oxygen deprivation. The most common is stagnant anoxia, which occurs when an internal condition blocks an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood from entering the brain. If the anoxic brain injury is caused by an insufficient supply of oxygen in the air, it's classified as anoxic anoxia. When the anoxic brain injury is caused by toxins or metabolites interfering with the ability to process oxygen normally, it's called toxic anoxia. Anemic anoxia occurs when there are not adequate levels of blood or hemoglobin to carry oxygen to your brain.

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    After an anoxic brain injury, people can experience problems with their short-term memory. In fact, of the host of cognitive problems that can result from an anoxic brain injury, short-term memory loss is the most common. This is because the hippocampus, the part of your brain that helps you form and store new memories, is extremely vulnerable to the oxygen deprivation that causes an anoxic brain injury.

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    Diffuse axonal injuries can be fatal. A diffuse axonal injury can cause swelling in the brain, which can create pressure in the brain cavity. This pressure may lead to a coma. Patients regaining consciousness in the first week of their coma are most likely to recover.

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    In some cases, anoxic brain injuries can cause people to go into comas. When people come out of a coma, in many cases they will remain in a persistent vegetative state. In this state, some functions of the brain continue, but the person is not conscious. Some doctors think that recovery is not possible if a person is in a vegetative state for longer than three months.