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What Is an Anoxic Brain Injury?

Posted on March 31, 2022 in

Medical professionals typically classify brain injuries into one of two categories: traumatic and acquired. While traumatic brain injuries occur due to an external force, acquired brain injuries develop due to internal factors, such as toxin exposure or oxygen deprivation.

One of the most serious types of acquired brain injury is anoxia. Also known as anoxic brain injury, anoxia occurs when an acquired brain injury suddenly cuts off the brain’s oxygen supply. Anoxic brain injuries can be very dangerous and lead to sometimes irreversible changes in brain function.

Symptoms of an Anoxic Brain Injury

Anoxia occurs when the brain is completely deprived of oxygen, leading to lasting brain damage, coma, and even death. Without prompt medical intervention, an anoxic brain injury can lead to permanent disabilities that impact the victim’s quality of life.

Symptoms of anoxic brain injury may not be obvious at first, but they will worsen and become more apparent the longer that oxygen deprivation occurs. Some of the first signs of this condition include the following:

  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unexplained headaches
  • Difficulty walking
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Dizziness and disorientation

After approximately four to five minutes of oxygen loss, victims can experience seizures, hallucinations, and the sudden loss of consciousness. If you or a loved one are experiencing any symptoms of anoxic brain injury, seek emergency medical care as soon as you possibly can.

What Causes an Anoxic Brain Injury?

An anoxic brain injury can happen due to a wide range of factors. Most often, medical conditions like stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure can lead to a complete loss of oxygen. Additionally, the following types of accidents may also cause anoxia:

  • Choking accidents
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Drug and medication overdoses
  • Drowning accidents
  • Accidents that result in significant blood loss

Treatment and Recovery for Anoxic Brain Injury

Your treatment options for anoxic brain injury will depend on the severity of your injury. The longer that you are deprived of oxygen, the weaker your body becomes. To normalize your oxygen levels, your medical team may perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or place you on a ventilator.

Once you are stabilized, you may visit a specialist to treat symptoms related to your anoxia, such as seizures or heart conditions. Your physician will perform an evaluation and determine the extent of your brain damage.

Many patients with anoxia experience permanent disability and struggle to speak, move, or perform basic functions. Depending on the severity of your injury, your doctor may recommend the following types of therapies:

  • Speech therapy, which focuses on building skills that help restore your ability to talk
  • Occupational therapy, which helps support your adjustment to daily activities
  • Counseling, which can help you cope with the psychological impact of the injury
  • Physical therapy, which focuses on restoring movement and control over your body
  • Recreational therapies in individual and group settings, such as activities like games, sports, art, music, and dance

Filing an Illinois Brain Injury Lawsuit After Anoxia

Sometimes, negligence causes anoxic brain injury. For example, landlords could fail to place carbon monoxide detectors in properties that they own. Doctors could administer unsafe amounts of medication, leading to an overdose.

If you or a loved one develop anoxia because of someone else’s actions, you may be eligible for legal action. In these situations, an attorney can represent your anoxic brain injury lawsuit and recover the compensation that you deserve. As soon as possible after your accident, contact a Chicago brain injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.