Oxygen starvation leads to rapid brain damage
Thursday 05 August 1993
Any event that stops the oxygen supply can cause hypoxia, including drowning, suffocation, choking, asphyxiation and heart attack.
The brain is particularly sensitive to a reduction in a good supply of oxygenated blood.
Even after prolonged heart surgery when blood circulation has been maintained artificially, sensitive tests have detected minor brain impairment, including memory loss.
Hypoxia of the brain initially causes confusion and dizziness, then unconsciousness and death. If suffocation is the cause of the hypoxia, being allowed to breathe freely again by removal of the obstruction will quickly restore the situation without any damage. But as brain cells can survive for only a few minutes without oxygen, damage to the brain can be rapid. When there is damage to the oldest part in evolutionary terms - the brain stem and the cerebellum, which are located at the base of the skull - a patient will need life support.
These parts of the brain control some of the body's automatic functions, including blood pressure and breathing.
Some reports have suggested that Joy Gardner died of kidney failure. Although it is possible, doctors say hypoxia is unlikely to cause sudden kidney failure in a patient unless there is an existing kidney condition that is being treated. Kidney failure tends to develop slowly.
- 1 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Video shows what happens when lava is poured onto ice
- 5 Cate Blanchett loses temper during interview: 'That's your f**king question?'
Andreas Lubitz: Who is Germanwings co-pilot who 'locked out captain and crashed flight 9525'?
Germanwings crash: The poignant final photograph taken by Iranian journalist on doomed flight after watching Barcelona play Real Madrid
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Cate Blanchett loses temper during interview: 'That's your f**king question?'
Jeremy Clarkson calls on trolls to leave producer Oisin Tymon alone: 'None of this is his fault'
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Vote Ukip, says far-right group Britain First
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...