Acquired brain injury (ABI) takes place at the cellular level within the brain. Therefore, injury from acquired brain injury can effect cells throughout the entire brain, instead of just in specific areas as with traumatic brain injury.

An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain, which is not hereditary, congenital, degenerative, or induced by birth trauma. An acquired brain injury is an injury to the brain that has occurred after birth.

Causes (Not limited to)

• Airway obstruction
• Near-drowning, throat swelling, choking, strangulation, crush injuries to the chest
• Electrical shock or lightening strike
• Trauma to the head and/or neck
• Traumatic brain injury with or without skull fracture, blood loss from open wounds, artery impingement from forceful impact, shock
• Vascular disruption
• Heart attack, stroke, arteriovenous malformation (AVM), aneurysm, intracranial surgery
• Infectious disease, intracranial tumors, metabolic disorders
• Meningitis, certain venereal diseases, AIDS, insect-carried diseases, brain tumors, hypo/hyperglycemia, hepatic encephalopathy, uremic encephalopathy, seizure disorders
• Toxic exposure- poisonous chemicals and gases, such as carbon monoxide poisoning

An acquired brain injury commonly results in a change in neuronal activity, which effects the physical integrity, the metabolic activity, or the functional ability of the cell. An acquired brain injury may result in mild, moderate, or severe impairments in one or more areas, including cognition, speech-language communication; memory; attention and concentration; reasoning; abstract thinking; physical functions; psychosocial behavior; and information processing. (Adopted by the Brain Injury Association Board of Directors, March 14, 1997.)

Symptoms of ABI

Most symptoms of acquired brain injuries are very similar to that of traumatic brain injuries; however, there are some difficulties that are experienced more frequently or to a greater degree by persons with acquired brain injuries. This information is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or examination. A person with a suspected brain injury should contact a physician immediately, go to the emergency room, or call 911 in the case of an emergency. Symptoms can include:
• Cognitive impairment- Thinking skills, especially memory
• Longer lengths of time spent in a vegetative state
• Severe behavior problems- Psychosis, depression, restlessness, combativeness, hostility
• Muscle movement disorders

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