What is Cerebral Hypoxia?
Cerebral hypoxia is the medical term for the occurrence of insufficient oxygen getting to the brain; the term for a complete lack of oxygen to the brain is cerebral anoxia. Both of these disorders are serious and possibly fatal conditions that require immediate attention. In order to function properly, the brain requires a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients. The disruption of this supply can result in serious injuries and complications.
Events that can prevent the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the brain include suffocation; choking; carbon monoxide poisoning; cardiac arrest; cardiac arrhythmia; complications from general anesthesia; drowning; drug overdose; injuries to a newborn occurring before, during, or soon after birth; stroke; or very low blood pressure. Brain cells rely heavily on oxygen that they can start to die less than five minutes after the oxygen supply is disrupted. Symptoms of mild cerebral hypoxia consist of change in attention or inattentiveness, poor judgment, and uncoordinated movement. Symptoms of severe cerebral hypoxia can include complete unawareness and unresponsiveness (coma), no breathing, and no response of the pupils of the eye to light. Both hypoxia and anoxia can cause coma, seizures, and brain death.
Diagnosis & Care
Because of the sensitivity of the brain to its oxygen supply, hypoxia and anoxia need to be diagnosed and treated immediately. A medical professional can diagnose the condition based on the patient’s medical history, a physical exam, and medical tests.
Unfortunately, cerebral hypoxia and anoxia can be a result of medical error and the costs involved with these conditions can be exorbitant. If you or a loved one suffers or has suffered from one of these conditions as a result of medical error, you may be entitled to compensation to cover medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost income. Contact the medical malpractice lawyers at the Law Offices of Wais, Vogelstein, Forman & Offutt for a free consultation and to find out more about your legal rights.
The course of treatment will utilize basic life support systems: mechanical ventilation to support the airway, fluids, blood products to support blood pressure and heart rate, and medications to suppress seizures. The prognosis varies greatly and is directly attributed to the amount of time that the brain was deprived of or lacking oxygen. The longer a patient is unconscious, the higher the chances of death or brain death.
Books & Resources
For more information on brain injuries from lack of oxygen, the following resources are available: