When a person experiences a cardiac arrest the heart is not beating and the body’s organs become deprived of oxygen. The brain can be affected by this lack of oxygen. This is known as a hypoxic brain injury and people may experience a range of neurological problems as a result.

A common indicator that someone is in a hypoxic state is the skin appearing a bluish-grey colour, which is known as cyanosis.

Common Sequelae

Hypoxic brain injury may cause a variety of difficulties ranging from subtle to obvious, e.g.

  • Changes in thinking skills (memory, concentration)
  • Insight (being aware of difficulties)
  • Disorientation
  • Personality changes
  • Communication difficulties
  • Drowsiness/reduced level of consciousness
  • Balance impairments
  • Physical weakness
  • Difficulties swallowing
  • Low mood


Recovering from brain hypoxia depends largely on how long your brain has gone without oxygen. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may have recovery challenges that may or may not eventually resolve.

Issues caused by hypoxia or a cardiac arrest are known as sequelae and many of the common ones are covered on this website.

More Information

You can find further information and resources at the Headway website.