Unlike traumatic brain injuries, which happen due to direct trauma to the head, anoxic brain injuries occur when the brain is deprived of oxygen. After approximately four minutes of oxygen deprivation, the brain cells begin to die, resulting in potentially life-threatening damage.
Anoxic brain injuries are often associated with strokes, although this is only one type of anoxic brain injury.
Types of Anoxic Brain Injuries
The different kinds of anoxic brain injuries include:
Stagnant anoxia or hypoxicischemic injury can result from strokes and occurs when oxygen-carrying blood cannot reach the brain, causing oxygen deprivation.
Anemic anoxia happens when the blood cannot adequately carry enough oxygen to the brain or if there is insufficient blood to meet the brain’s oxygen needs.
Toxic anoxia happens when poisonous substances or chemicals hinder the brain’s ability to receive oxygen from blood cells.
Anoxic anoxia occurs when there is a lack of oxygen in the air to breathe, resulting in suffocation.
Common Causes of Anoxic Brain Injuries
- Stroke. When someone suffers a stroke, a part of the brain does not receive adequate oxygen, resulting in the potential death of the brain tissue.
- Cardiac arrest. The heart is responsible for keeping blood circulating throughout the body. If the heart stops working, it could limit blood flow to the brain, starving it and other organs of oxygen and other vital nutrients.
- Low blood pressure. Low blood pressure may not always be a severe medical issue, but it could compromise the amount of blood and oxygen to the brain when the pressure drops extremely low. This could lead to an anoxic brain injury or cardiac arrest.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide, a virtually undetectable gas, starves the body of oxygen and prevents adequate oxygen flow to the brain and the rest of the body. This could lead to loss of consciousness and death.
- Drug overdose. Both recreational and prescription drugs may have the ability to slow the user’s heart rate and respiration, causing them to breathe improperly. In serious cases, anoxic brain damage can occur.
- Choking. Choking partially or entirely blocks one’s airway, which could lead to anoxic brain injury if not immediately addressed.
- Near drowning. When water fills the lungs, the oxygen to the brain and the rest of the body could quickly decrease, leading to anoxic brain damage and potential death.
Does a CT Scan Show Anoxic Brain Injury?
Incidents that cause limited oxygen flow to the body could increase a person’s risk of anoxic brain damage. In these instances, CT imaging is recommended three days after the event as it will accurately show the manifestations of anoxic injury. If you have any questions about CT scanning or imaging for anoxic brain injury, speak with your physician as soon as possible.
Can a Person Recover From Anoxic Brain Injury?
Each anoxic brain injury case is unique. While full recovery following a severe anoxic brain injury is rare, patients with milder cases may be capable of a full or partial recovery. This depends on which area of the brain was affected and the extent of the compromised oxygen.
Our North Carolina Brain Injury Attorneys Are Here To Help
Anoxic brain injuries can be devastating for the sufferer and their entire family. During this extremely difficult time, you need a brain injury attorney you can trust. At Henson Fuerst, your case is important to us, and we will work hard to ensure your best chance at recovery.
Contact our personal injury lawyers today by submitting a form below or calling our office at 919-781-1107 for a free case evaluation.