Anoxic brain injury is a serious, often life-threatening injury that occurs when the brain is deprived of oxygen. There are many potential causes of anoxic brain injury, including stroke, drowning, carbon monoxide poisoning and heart attack. The effects can range from mild, temporary confusion to severe, permanent cognitive and physical disabilities.
The experienced New Orleans Brain Injury Attorneys at Cueria Law Firm have worked with many clients just like you who have suffered long-term effects from anoxic brain injury. If you or a loved one has sustained a brain injury, particularly due to the negligence of a third party, contact our personal injury attorneys today to get the help you need.
Causes of Anoxic Brain Injury
Anoxic brain injury is a type of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). ABI refers to damage to the brain that is not hereditary or congenital. There are many possible causes of anoxic brain injury. Some of the more common causes include:
- Stroke: Stroke is a disruption of the blood flow to the brain caused by a blocked artery or a damaged blood vessel. Since the blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain, brain cells can begin to die due to a stroke.
- Physical Assault: Any traumatic, physical assault that deprives the brain of oxygen such as strangling, drowning or choking can result in this type of brain injury.
- Choking: Not all choking is the result of a traumatic, physical assault. When a person chokes on food or another small object, the flow of oxygen is disrupted, and brain cells begin to die.
- Drug Overdose: If a person takes too much of a drug, they may become unconscious and stop breathing.
- Anaphylaxis Due to an Allergic Reaction: Anaphylaxis is a severe reaction to an allergen such as a bee sting, peanuts or shellfish. When exposed, a person may experience a decrease in blood pressure or constriction of the airways, both of which result in oxygen deprivation to the brain.
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Carbon Monoxide is an odorless gas that prevents the body from using oxygen efficiently.
- Low Blood Pressure: Low blood pressure (hypotension) means that the blood flowing through the blood vessels is moving with less force, resulting in inadequate delivery of blood to the vital organs, including the brain.
The Effects of Lack of Oxygen on the Brain
The brain requires a constant flow of oxygen to maintain its normal function and keep delicate neural cells alive. When the brain is deprived of oxygen for four minutes or more, these neural cells begin to die rapidly in a process known as apoptosis. Permanent damage can occur after five minutes of oxygen deprivation.
Symptoms of mild anoxic brain injury may include:
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Dizziness or Vomiting
- Changes in Sensation (numbness or tingling in the limbs) and Vision
Depending on the extent of oxygen deprivation and the areas of the brain that were affected, more serious or long-term symptoms may be present.
Symptoms of severe anoxic brain injury may include:
- Impulsivity or Indecisiveness
- Changes in Visual Processing Ability
- Lack of Physical Coordination
- Depression or Anxiety
- Difficulty with Previously Simple Tasks
Treatment and Prognosis After Anoxic Brain Injury
If you have experienced any of these symptoms after an injury or if you are unsure if you have suffered oxygen deprivation, it is essential to seek the care of a qualified medical professional immediately. A doctor will be able to diagnose anoxic brain injuries through the use of tests such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), a CAT scan (computerized axial tomography) or an EEG (electroencephalogram).
The prognosis and required treatment for anoxic brain injury will vary based on a number of factors, including the degree of injury, amount of time unconscious, area of the brain affected and age of the individual. The milder the injury, the more likely the individual will achieve a complete or near-complete recovery.
Various treatment options are common after anoxic brain injuries. Some treatments include:
- Speech Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Support Groups
A serious anoxic brain injury can have an immense, long-term impact on the individuals who suffered the injuries as well as their families. Our New Orleans Brain Injury Attorneys have worked with families across the state of Louisiana to secure financial settlements.
If you or a loved one has suffered from anoxic brain injury, contact Cueria Law Firm today. Our experienced attorneys will evaluate your case to determine what legal action can be taken to help get you and your family through this difficult time.