Hypoxia occurs when there is a lack of oxygen. When the brain is deprived of oxygen, anoxic brain damage can result. Brain cells may die in as little as four minutes, and the resulting damage may be life-changing.
The brain may become deprived of oxygen in one of two ways. Either blood flow to the brain is blocked—as may be the case with a blood clot or heart attack—or the blood that is flowing to the brain is not carrying enough oxygen, which can occur when a person is having difficulty breathing.
Symptoms of Hypoxia
According to Mount Sinai Hospital, symptoms of mild or moderate hypoxia include:
- Concentration or attention problems.
- Mood swings.
- Personality changes.
- Intermittent loss of consciousness.
- Coordination problems.
People who suffer from severe hypoxia may fall into a coma or vegetative state.
Diagnosis of Hypoxia
The first thing that a doctor will do is to talk to you or to your loved ones about your symptoms. Then certain diagnostic tests may be ordered to make an accurate diagnosis of your brain injury. Those tests may include one or more of the following:
- A CT scan of the head.
- A specialized CT scan, known as a SPECT, that looks at the brain flow and metabolism of the brain.
- An MRI scan of the head.
- An EEG to measure the electrical activity in the brain.
Other tests of specific brain activities or senses may also be done based on your unique symptoms.
Treatment of Hypoxia
At first, treatment for hypoxia depends on why you are suffering from oxygen deprivation. Doctors will try to make sure that blood flow is returned to normal and that there is adequate oxygen in your blood. After these emergency measures have been taken, rehabilitation therapies such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy will be discussed with you.
Your treatment—and your prognosis—depend on how long you were deprived of oxygen .
Protecting Your Recovery After a Hypoxic Brain Injury
Sometimes hypoxia is not easily preventable, but other times this dangerous cause of brain injury occurs because of a medical error. If your doctor failed to diagnose or treat your medical condition and you suffered anoxic brain damage as a result, then you may be able to recover damages for your past, current and future injuries. This could include compensation for all of your medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, pain, suffering, and other damages. To learn more, please contact us via this website to schedule a free consultation with an experienced brain injury lawyer.