How long can a person go without oxygen?


Quick Answer

The human body can go without oxygen for about four minutes before brain cell death begins to occur. If oxygen is not restored in as little as four minutes, the brain may suffer permanent injury or anoxic brain damage, which can lead to many serious health issues.

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Full Answer

Anoxic brain damage can lead to a coma or cause an individual to experience confusion, headaches, poor coordination, seizures and many other health issues. Health issues and accidents, such as drowning, choking, heart attacks, drug use, electrical shock and carbon monoxide poisoning, can increase the likelihood of developing anoxic brain damage. Tests, such as MRI's, CT scans and SPECT scans, can be performed by doctors, to determine the level of brain damage in an individual.

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