Anoxic brain injury results when the brain is deprived of oxygen for a sustained amount of time-such as in cardiac arrest, carbon monoxide poisoning, or encephalopathies. The resulting damage is spread throughout the brain and can cause a great number of cognitive and physical impairments.
Research in anoxic brain injury is not as abundant as research in traumatic brain injury. In theory, the anoxic brain injury survivor should show a greater number of impairments and have slower recovery than the traumatic brain injury survivor (whose injury may be limited to specific parts of the brain).
A recent study comparing the two types of injury confirmed that, in general, anoxic brain injury survivors do have greater impairments and poorer outcomes than traumatic brain injury survivors. However, many hospital programs use the same rehabilitation program for both types of injury. The researchers suggest that tailoring a program for each type of injury would be more effective.
Cullen NK, & Weisz K. Cognitive correlates with functional outcomes after anoxic brain injury: A case-controlled comparison with traumatic brain injury. Brain Injury. (December 2010).