Hypoxic encephalopathy; Anoxic encephalopathy
Definition of Cerebral hypoxia
Cerebral hypoxia occurs when there is not enough oxygen getting to the brain. The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients to function.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
In cerebral hypoxia, sometimes only the oxygen supply is interrupted. This can be caused by:
Symptoms of mild cerebral hypoxia include:
Signs and tests
Cerebral hypoxia can usually be diagnosed based on the person’s medical history and a physical exam. Tests are done to determine the cause of the hypoxia, and may include:
Cerebral hypoxia is an emergency condition that need to be treated right away. The sooner the oxygen supply is restored to the brain, the lower the risk of severe brain damage and death.
The outlook depends on the extent of the brain injury. This is determined by how long the brain lacked oxygen, and whether nutrition to the brain was also affected.
Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 9/13/2010