Background: Anoxic brain injury (ABI) is a syndrome of diverse aetiology, most case series published to date being confined to ABI of a single aetiology or to a limited numbers of patients.
Methods: This study performed a retrospective analysis on all patients admitted for rehabilitation following ABI over a 14-year period. It identified 93 cases and presents a summary of their clinical patterns and functional and psychometric outcome measures. In addition a database involving 584 patients admitted for rehabilitation following traumatic brain injury (TBI) during the same time interval was used to compare demographic, functional and cognitive patterns.
Conclusions: Relative to TBI, there was a peak frequency of ABI in males aged 60 years and in females in their late 20s. ABI patients were referred later for rehabilitation, had similar lengths of stay, but made slower progress, with poorer outcomes and were more likely to be transferred to residential care. Those with ABI had more severe impairments on cognitive assessment relative to those with TBI, being particularly susceptible to impairments in memory, especially visual memory or short-term memory. Neurological impairments of speech and language were present in 72 patients; visual field loss in eight and cortical blindness in 10; six suffered myoclonus and 10 late epilepsy.