Anoxic Brain Damage
(Anoxic Brain Injury; Hypoxic Brain Injury)
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Anoxic brain damage (ABD) is harm to the brain due to a lack of oxygen. Brain cells without enough oxygen will start to die after about four minutes.
Oxygen is carried to the brain in the blood. ABD is when:
These problems may raise your chance of ABD:
ABD may cause:
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:
Treatment will depend on the cause. It may mean:
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:
Some people do not fully get better. They learn to cope with their disabilities. The sooner rehabilitation starts, the better the results.
To lower your chance of ABD:
Brain Injury Association of America
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Ontario Brain Injury Association
Public Health Agency of Canada
Albano C, Comandante L, Nolan S. Innovations in the management of cerebral injury. Crit Care Nurs Q. 2005;28(2):135-149.
Biagas K. Hypoxic-ischemic brain injury: Advancements in the understanding of mechanisms and potential avenues for therapy. Curr Opin Pediatr. 1999;11(3):223-228.
Hopkins R, Haaland K. Neuropsychological and neuropathological effects of anoxic or ischemic induced brain injury. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2004;10(7):957-961.
Juul S. Erythropoietin in the central nervous system, and its use to prevent hypoxic-ischemic brain damage. Acta Paediatr Suppl. 2002;91(438):36-42.
NINDS cerebral hypoxia information page. National Institute of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Cerebral-Hypoxia-Information-Page. Accessed June 18, 2018.
Ramani R. Hypothermia for brain protection and resuscitation. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2006;19(5):487-491.
Rubinos C, Ruland S. Neurologic complications in the intensive care unit. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2016;16(6):57.
Shprecher D, Mehta L. The syndrome of delayed post-hypoxic leukoencephalopathy. Neuro Rehabilitation. 2010:26(1):65-72.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Rimas Lukas, MD
Last Updated: 6/18/2018
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
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.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.