Anoxic Brain Damage
Pronounced: An-OKS-ikEn Español (Spanish Version)
Anoxic brain damage is injury to the brain due to a lack of oxygen. Hypoxia is the term to describe low oxygen. Brain cells without enough oxygen will begin to die after about four minutes.
Progression of Anoxic Brain Damage
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Oxygen is carried to the brain in the blood. Anoxic brain damage may occur if:
Blood flow to the brain is blocked or slowed. This can happen with:
- Blood clot or stroke
- Shock and heart problems, like heart attack
The blood flow is normal but the blood is not carrying enough oxygen. This may happen if:
- You have lung disease
- There is a lack of oxygen in the air, which may at high altitudes
- You have exposure to certain poisons or other toxins, such as carbon monoxide poisoning
- You have an event that is stopping you from breathing normally, such as drowning, choking, or suffucation
Last reviewedJuly 2013by Rimas Lukas, MD; Brian Randall, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.