Cerebral anoxia is the term for the total lack of oxygen being delivered to the brain. Cerebral anoxia may result in seizures, coma, permanent brain damage, or death. With no oxygen, brain cells start dying in several minutes.
When the brain is denied oxygen, it triggers two automatic cerebral events in an effort to maintain oxygen supply.
- 1. Following a cerebral anoxic event, of sufficient duration, the neurons are subject to an influx of sodium causing swelling and further injury to the brain. There is also an influx of calcium and the formation of oxygen free radicals. Oxygen free radicals are hyperactive and cause cellular injury by changing the molecular components of the cell.
- 2. The second mechanism that activates automatically, to compensate for lack of oxygen, is cerebral blood flow recirculation. While larger caliber vessels are thought to respond effectively to recirculation, the capillaries and smaller vessels may be so damaged that they are unable to resume normal blood flow resulting in blood pooling and damage to cerebral cortex.
Causes of Cerebral Anoxia
Cerebral anoxia can be caused by any one of these events:
- medical malpractice
- anesthesia errors
- carbon-monoxide poisoning
- smoke inhalation
- oxygen deprivation during birth (often resulting in cerebral palsy)
- accident with excessive loss of blood
Consequences of Cerebral Anoxia
After a cerebral anoxic event, the brain of the victim is altered. Those alterations are manifested in many ways, including:
- extensive memory loss or disturbances
- changes in personality
- lack of concern
- lack of emotional expression
- poor judgment
- decrease in motor coordination
- changes in behavior
- visual spatial deficits
- trouble articulating
Prognosis for Cerebral Anoxia
There can be varying degrees of recovery from cerebral anoxia. The long-term prognosis depends on how long the brain was without oxygen, how extensively the brain cells were damaged, and which area of the brain was most damaged. Even in the best case scenario, there can be permanent psychological and neurological damage. Comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations are imperative in cerebral anoxia cases in order to provide the most effective treatment planning and rehabilitation for the patient.
This information is provided by TSR Injury Law. We have a proven record of success, with large recoveries and settlements, in complex traumatic brain injury cases. Steve Terry, Chuck Slane, and Rich Ruohonen are skilled, aggressive litigators with years of experience. Call 612-TSR-TIMEor submit our free consultation form.