Anoxic vs. Hypoxic Brain Injuries

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Hypoxic and anoxic brain injuries are relatively similar since both are the result of an interruption of oxygen supply to the brain. The difference with hypoxia is the interruption is partial, whereas anoxia occurs when there is a complete lack of oxygen supplied to the brain.

There are many causes of anoxia and four different types, all of which may cause severe brain damage. When blood cannot carry enough oxygen to the brain, anemic anoxia may develop. Even if the blood flow is adequate, without enough oxygen present, you will suffer from this type of anoxic brain injury. Conditions like anemia and carbon monoxide poisoning may also cause this. Carbon monoxide poisoning can also cause toxic anoxia, which is a form of anoxia caused by toxins in the system that prevent the oxygen in blood from being used.

When an individual has a condition that blocks oxygen-rich blood from supporting brain function, stagnant anoxia occurs. Typically, strokes and cardiac arrhythmia cause this type of anoxia. Lastly, when there is not enough oxygen in the air for the body to survive, which may happen at incredibly high altitudes, an individual may suffer from anoxic anoxia.

Other common causes of anoxia include:

  • Electric shock
  • Drowning
  • Brain tumors
  • Extreme low blood pressure
  • Choking
  • Suffocation
  • Illegal drug use
  • Heart attack

Similarly, hypoxic brain injuries may occur from the aforementioned causes, but its symptoms and damage may vary from minor to severe. Additionally, hypoxic brain injury may happen to a newborn infant either before, during, or immediately after birth. Severity of this type of injury will greatly depend on how long the interruption of oxygen to the brain lasts. If an individual was only briefly unconscious, a full recovery is likely, but if unconsciousness lasts longer, the chances of recovery lessen and there may be permanent damage to the brain.

Shea & Shea has a dedicated team of attorneys and staff who handle only a few cases at a time in order to devote the right amount of attention to our clients. Brain injury cases are just one of our many areas of practice and we know that if you or someone you love is suffering from this injury, you may be going through an emotionally stressful time. We can help. For a free case evaluation, call us at 408-883-3863.

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