What is it?

Anoxic brain injury is a type of brain injury that isn't usually caused by a blow to the head. Instead, anoxic brain injury occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen. If the oxygen deprivation continues, anoxic brain injuries may even become fatal. Left without oxygen for too long, neural cells begin to die through a process called apoptosis. And though cell death is a normal part of the human experience, patients can be left with diminished brain function when many brain cells simultaneously die.

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of anoxic brain damage may include:
- Headache
- Problems with thinking and focus
- Mood swings
- Loss of consciousness
- Seizures
- Clumsiness
- Coma
- A decline in brain function days or weeks after the event (rare)


Diagnosis may include medical history and physical examination. Further examination may consist of:
- CT scan
- MRI scan
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)-a test that measures the electricity in the brain
- Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scans-a type of CT scan that looks at parts of the brain
- Evoked potential tests-tests used to check the senses


Treatment will depend on the cause. Choices are:
- Oxygen to raise the amount of oxygen in the blood
- Medicine to help get enough blood with oxygen to the brain
- Cooling the brain to limit problems
Recovery can take months or years. It depends on how long a person went without oxygen. Many people can get back most of the abilities they lost. These therapies may be needed:
- Physical therapy to retrain motor skills, such as walking
- Occupational therapy to relearn daily skills, such as dressing and going to the bathroom
- Speech therapy to work on language problems
- Counseling for behavior and emotional issues

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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