What Is Anoxic Brain Injury?

The brain requires sufficient oxygen to function properly. Anoxic Brain Injury occurs when there is a complete lack of oxygen in the brain.

Anoxic brain injury can lead to severe and permanent damage and loss of function in a very short period of time. Brain cells begin to die in as little as four minutes when deprived of oxygen. Permanent brain damage can occur as quickly as five minutes.

Causes of Anoxic Brain Injury:

  • Drowning
  • Suffocation
  • Stroke
  • Choking
  • Heart Attack
  • Respiratory Conditions
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
  • Brain Tumors
  • Injuries to the Trachea (windpipe)
  • Severe anemia
  • High altitudes

Injuries due to Anoxia

Severe and sometimes permanent injuries may occur due to Anoxia, depending upon the amount of time the brain is deprived of oxygen. Anoxia can result in the following:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Headaches
  • Weakness in the arms and legs
  • Decreased coordination
  • Cognitive deficits – problems with concentration, attention, focus
  • Memory loss
  • Communication problems – understanding what is said, expressing oneself with the proper words
  • Brain death

Immediate emergency medical treatment is critical in avoiding or minimizing Anoxic Brain Injury damage.


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