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Anoxic Brain Injury

What Is An Anoxic Brain Injury?

The brain is one of the body’s most complex and vital organs, responsible for everything from breathing and movement to emotion and memory. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, even briefly, it can lead to an anoxic brain injury.

Anoxic Brain Injury

An anoxic or hypoxic brain injury is a traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by the deprivation of oxygen to the brain. An anoxic brain injury occurs when the supply of oxygen to the brain is drastically reduced or cut off entirely, causing damage to cells in the brain. Without enough oxygen, brain cells begin to die around four minutes. Anoxic injuries can devastate a person’s physical and mental health, impacting their ability to think, remember, and perform motor skills.

If a loved one has suffered an anoxia-related brain injury due to someone else’s negligence, it is essential to get legal help from a qualified lawyer who can help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact our expert team at the law firm of Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci for a free consultation today.

anoxic brain injury chart

Oxygen Deprivation and Brain Health: A Vital Connection

The brain is highly dependent on oxygen for its functioning and survival. Oxygen is essential to the brain’s ability to maintain healthy brain cells, produce energy, maintain normal cellular functions, and generate neurons. Without enough oxygen, cells in the brain will begin to die in a process known as anoxia or hypoxia.

Moderate Anoxic Brain Injury vs Severe Anoxic Brain Injury

An anoxic brain injury can range in severity from mild to severe, depending on the amount of oxygen deprivation and how long it lasted. A mild anoxic brain injury may cause only temporary physical and mental impairments, while a severe anoxic brain injury could result in permanent disability to brain function or even death.

anoxic brain injury doctor

Common Causes of Anoxic Brain Injuries

A variety of different conditions can cause anoxic brain injuries. The most common causes include the following:

Stroke: This is a sudden blockage in the brain’s blood vessels, preventing oxygen from reaching the cells. This is one of the most common hypoxic brain injuries.

Near drowning: When an individual is submerged underwater for an extended time and does not receive enough oxygen.

Cardiac arrest: This occurs when the heart stops beating due to an electrical malfunction, which leads to a lack of oxygen to the brain.

Choking: When an individual’s airways are blocked due to food, liquid, or a foreign object.

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when a person breathes in dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, displacing oxygen in the body and leading to serious brain damage.

Drug overdose: this occurs when a person takes too much of a drug, which can lead to respiratory depression or cardiac arrest and, ultimately, anoxic brain injury.

Sudden changes in atmospheric pressure: such as those experienced in high altitudes

Medical malpractice or medical negligence: This occurs when a doctor or other medical professional fails to provide the proper care for a patient, resulting in anoxic brain injury.

Physical trauma: this can include head injuries, strangulation, choking, or suffocation.

Symptoms of Anoxic Brain Injuries

Anoxia symptoms can vary significantly depending on the severity and duration of oxygen deprivation. It may lead to confusion, disorientation, memory loss, and difficulty concentrating in mild cases. In more severe cases, it can lead to paralysis, coma, seizures, and even death.

Signs to Look For If You Suspect An Anoxic Brain Injury

Seek medical treatment if you or someone else demonstrates the following signs:

  • Changes in levels of consciousness ranging from confusion to coma
  • Changes in behavior or emotional state
  • Loss of muscle control or coordination
  • Inability to speak and understand language
  • Impaired vision, hearing, or balance
  • Difficulty with walking and other motor functions
  • Seizures
A head x-ray taken by a computer-assisted tomographic (CAT) scanner to look for anoxia

Cognitive Problems with Anoxia Brain Injury

Anoxic brain injury can cause a variety of cognitive problems, including:

  • memory loss
  • difficulty concentrating
  • and impaired decision making
  • difficulty with language processing
  • impaired problem-solving
  • impairments in abstract thinking
  • trouble executive functioning abilities such as planning and organizing
  • Agitation, restlessness, or irritability
  • changes in personality and behavior

Physical Problems with Anoxia Brain Injury

Anoxic brain injury can also lead to physical problems, including:

  • Muscle weakness and paralysis
  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • headache or migraine
  • Impaired vision
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Seizures
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • coma
  • Paralysis, numbness, or tingling in the limbs
  • Abnormal eye movements

Diagnosis and Treatment for Anoxic Brain Injury

Diagnosing Anoxia

An accurate diagnosis is critical to successful treatment for anoxic brain injury. A doctor will perform a thorough physical exam and a neurological assessment to assess the patient’s cognitive and motor abilities. Imaging scans such as CT or MRI may be used to detect any tissue damage in the brain. Additional tests, such as an EEG, can help determine whether there is any electrical activity in the brain.

Treating Anoxia

Treatment for anoxic brain injury usually involves supportive care, medication, and rehabilitation. Medications may be prescribed to reduce swelling, improve circulation, or reduce the risk of seizures. Oxygen therapy and nutrition can also be used to support brain health. Physical, occupational, and speech therapy can help patients regain strength and movement in their limbs and relearn lost skills such as speaking. In severe cases where a person is in a coma, treatments may be used to attempt to wake them up. In some instances, anoxic brain injury can cause permanent damage or disability.

Preventing Anoxic Brain Damage

In many cases, anoxic brain damage can be prevented by avoiding activities or situations that could lead to oxygen deprivation. This includes:

  • Avoiding contact with carbon monoxide and other toxic gasses
  • Not driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Being aware of changes in altitude when engaging in high-risk activities such as mountain climbing or skydiving
  • Avoiding activities that put a person at risk of suffocation, such as swimming in shallow water
  • Being aware of the potential for drug overdose and taking the appropriate measures to prevent it
  • Ensuring proper medical care is provided by doctors and other healthcare professionals
  • Wearing protective gear when engaging in physical or contact sports
  • Ensure people with health conditions such as asthma have access to appropriate treatments.

In conclusion, anoxic brain injury is a severe and potentially life-threatening condition that can cause long-term cognitive, physical, and psychological impairments. It is essential to take the necessary steps to prevent it, such as avoiding situations that could lead to oxygen deprivation and ensuring proper medical care is provided. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the risk of long-term damage or disability associated with anoxic brain injury.

What if Someone Else Caused My Traumatic Brain Injury?

Suppose someone else caused your anoxic brain injury. In that case, you can take legal action and seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Speaking to a qualified personal injury lawyer who can help assess the situation and advise you of your rights is essential. A lawyer can also investigate the cause of the brain injury to determine if negligence or wrongful acts by another party were responsible. In these cases, you may be able to receive compensation for your losses and hold those responsible accountable for their actions. If you have suffered a serious anoxic brain injury, contact our brain injury lawyers with Cantor Grana Buckner Bucci immediately to fight for the compensation you deserve.

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