Anoxic Brain Injury: What is it and Probable Causes?

According to, anoxic brain injury is a type of brain injury that occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen, rather than by a blow to the head. When neural cells go too long without oxygen, they begin to die; while cell death occurs regularly and naturally, when too many brain cells die simultaneously, the victim can be left with serious neurological deficiencies. Of course, every person is different, therefore, every brain is different.

While some people could see brain damage from as little as thirty seconds of oxygen deprivation, others might go much longer without oxygen to their brain with less damage. The extent of the deprivation of oxygen will vary significantly, according to the specific injury. While some injuries could reduce oxygen and blood flow to the brain, others could entirely eliminate oxygen and blood flow. As a general rule, the brain can survive only four minutes without oxygen, which makes immediate action crucial when a stroke or other injury is suspected.

Symptoms Associated with Anoxic Brain Injury

Medical News Today lists the following symptoms of anoxia:

  • An inability to fully concentrate;
  • Loss of memory;
  • Feelings of disorientation;
  • Dizziness;
  • Weakness;
  • Forgetting words;
  • Unexplained limb pain;
  • Slurring words;
  • Difficulty speaking;
  • Changes in judgment;
  • Changes in personality;
  • Extreme mood swings;
  • New phobias or fears;
  • Trouble recognizing familiar people or animals;
  • Unusual depression or anxiety;
  • Difficulties performing previously unchallenging tasks;
  • Changes in relationships;
  • Chronic headaches;
  • Trouble walking, and
  • Coordination or balance issues.

A person who has experienced a lack of oxygen for several minutes may lose consciousness, collapse, pass out, or experience seizures or hallucinations. Often, the brain can temporarily compensate for a lack of oxygen, therefore, it could be several minutes before symptoms begin to appear.

Causes of Anoxic Brain Injury

According to the Shepherd Center, there are many different causes of anoxic brain injury, including the following:

  • Hypoxic-Ischemic Injury, also known as stagnant anoxia, is most often the result of a stroke, however, it can also be caused by other pulmonary conditions, including cardiac arrhythmia or cardiac arrest. Other issues, such as near-drowning, near-hanging, or other forms of incomplete suffocation, can also result in anoxic brain injury. When any of these issues result in a diminishment of circulating oxygen levels, the body may also experience a lack of glucose and other essential nutrients, as well as a cessation of the nutrient/waste exchange process, which supports healthy brain metabolism.
  • Anemic hypoxia occurs when the blood is unable to properly transport oxygen, or when the body has insufficient blood to support the brain’s need for oxygen. According to, anemic hypoxia can be the result of a serious iron deficiency, chemotherapy-induced anemia, hemorrhage from internal bleeding or injuries sustained in an accident, or abnormal hemoglobin, which does not bind to oxygen in the normal manner. Anemic hypoxia can also be caused by any lung condition which causes inadequate air exchange, such as COPD, lung cancer, pulmonary hypertension, rheumatoid lung disease, pneumonia, or asthma.
  • Toxic anoxia occurs when a chemical or poison prevents the brain from receiving blood cell oxygen. Toxic anoxia could occur from carbon monoxide poisoning, a drug overdose, or cyanide poisoning—any toxic substances which stop the brain from receiving oxygen.
  • Anoxic Anoxia can occur when a lack of oxygen in the air results in suffocation. Anoxic anoxia can be the result of altitude sickness or hypoventilation. Hypoventilation means not breathing enough and can occur when the airway is obstructed.

Categories of Anoxic Brain Injury

There are a number of “levels” of anoxic brain injury; doctors generally divide anoxic brain injuries into four categories. These categories determine the long-term prognosis for the victim of an anoxic brain injury. These levels of anoxic brain injury include:

  • Mild to moderate anoxic brain injury, which causes a minimum of brain impairment, is known as diffuse cerebral hypoxia.
  • A stroke that occurs in a single area of the brain usually causes focal cerebral ischemia.
  • When a stroke occurs in multiple brain regions, it is known as cerebral infarction.
  • When catastrophic harm causes a complete cessation of oxygen to the brain, it is known as global cerebral ischemia.

What happens immediately following deprivation of oxygen to the brain can also determine the long-range prognosis for the victim of an anoxic brain injury. Treatment for an anoxic brain injury may focus on locating the precise cause of the injury, then ensuring the injury will not repeat, or happen again. As an example, if a stroke causes an anoxic brain injury, the doctor will first determine what caused the stroke (like a blood clot or other cardiovascular event). The doctor will then determine how the threat of a future blood clot, cardiovascular event, or another similar issue can be minimized or prevented. Strategies that improve outcomes for those who have suffered an anoxic brain injury include speech therapy, support groups, mental health counseling, strong family support, nutritional and exercise support, occupational therapy, nutritional counseling, and education regarding the condition.

How USClaims Can Help Following Your Anoxic Brain Injury

If you or a loved one received injuries from or had an anoxic brain problem from a personal injury or accident, you may require financial assistance. You may also be unable to work as a result of your auto accident, making it impossible for you to pay even your most basic monthly expenses. Because your ability to obtain treatment for your anoxic brain injuries or assistance with your expense can be limited, USClaims can help. The pre-settlement funding offered by USClaims can help you pay your  costs, lost wages, and other unexpected expenses in anticipation of a court judgment or settlement. Call 1-877-USCLAIMS today for the information you need and deserve.


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