Anoxic Brain Damage
Oxygen is carried to the brain in the blood. ABD is when:
Blood flow is blocked or slowed. This can happen with:
- Clot or stroke
- Shock and heart problems, like a heart attack
The blood flow is normal, but the blood doesn’t have enough oxygen. This may happen if:
- You have lung disease
- There is a lack of oxygen in the air, which may happen at high altitudes
- You have been around certain poisons, such as carbon monoxide
- You have an event that is stopping you from breathing the right way, such as drowning, choking, or suffocation
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. You may need to see a doctor with special training in brain problems.
These tests may be ordered to find out more about your brain problems:
- Head CT scan
- MRI scan
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)—a test that measures the electricity in the brain
- SPECT scans—a type of CT scan that looks at parts of the brain
- Evoked potential tests—tests used to check your senses
Treatment will depend on the cause. It may mean:
- 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. Whether you get better depends on how long you were without oxygen. Many people can get back most of the abilities they lost.
You and your family may work with a:
- Physical therapist—to retrain motor skills, such as walking
- Occupational therapist—to relearn daily skills, such as dressing and going to the bathroom
- Speech therapist—to work on language problems
- Psychologist—for behavior and emotional issues from the injury
Some people do not fully get better. They learn to cope with their disabilities. The sooner rehabilitation starts, the better the results.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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a (Anoxic Brain Injury; Hypoxic Brain Injury)
Brain Injury Association of America http://www.biausa.org
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov
Ontario Brain Injury Association http://obia.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
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