Anoxic Brain Injury Article

What is an Anoxic Brain Injury?

An anoxic brain injury is a serious condition that occurs when the blood flow to the brain decreases to a threshold where brain cells begin to die. Once brain cells die, they cannot regrow. Unlike traumatic brain injuries (TBI) this injury causes a complete lack of oxygen to the brain.

Anoxic brain injuries can occur due to respiratory arrest, extremely low blood pressure, poisonings, heart attacks, drowning and other traumas.

Symptoms of an Anoxic Brain Injury

Initial symptoms of an anoxic brain injury could be loss of consciousness depending on the deprivation of oxygen. Severe anoxic brain injury can lead to coma, brain swelling, seizures and death. Other common symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Vision complications
  • Trouble speaking
  • Motor impairment
  • Depression
  • Mood swings

Recovery from an anoxic brain injury can be challenging that is dependent on time spent in a coma or unconscious along with the degree of brain damage. Your doctor along with a neurologist will work to identify the direct cause of the injury and determine a plan of treatment. Steroids may be prescribed to reduce swelling, along with medication to control seizures. During rehabilitation, the team of care can include speech, physical, occupation or recreational therapy.

UofL Physicians – Neurosurgery is here for you and any questions or concerns you may have about neurosurgical disorders. Visit the website to learn more or call 502-588-2160 for same day/week appointments for urgent and emergent neurosurgical conditions and evaluation.

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Article by: Emily Sieg, M.D.

Emily P. Sieg, M.D., is the director of neurotrauma for UofL Physicians – Restorative Neuroscience. She received her medical degree from Penn State College of Medicine. Dr. Sieg completed her residency in neurological surgery at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. She did one-year CAST accredited fellowships in Neurocritical Care and in Complex Spine Surgery at Penn State. Her research interests lie primarily in clinical and translational research in the field of neurotrauma and critical care. This includes spinal cord injury, brain trauma, and peripheral nerve injury.

All posts by Emily Sieg, M.D.
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