Reperfusion Injury

on Apr 14, 2020

In this case it was necessary to show two separate mechanisms of injury. Regretfully, this developing child was damaged in two ways: 1st by a blockage of blood flow to the brain, and 2nd by a reperfusion injury when flow was restored.

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In order to explain these injuries we had to first educate the audience on normal oxygenation of a fetus by showing how oxygen is carried from the placenta to the fetus via the umbilical cord and then how this oxygen travels through the babies body to be released into the brain.

An enlargement of one of these tiny blood vessels in the brain clearly showed how the blood releases oxygen into the surrounding brain tissue.

Next, we animated the first mechanism of injury. When the amount of oxygen available to the baby slows or stops, less oxygen is released into the brain. This results in widespread ischemia, or tissue death, in the brain of this baby.

But that was only the first injury. Eventually flow of oxygen was restored and this restoration of flow resulted in a dilation of damaged vessels in the brain. This dilation allowed for rapid leakage of fluid into the brain tissue resulting in swelling. Brain swelling was the ultimate mechanism of injury since it resulted in a compression of the vulnerable central midbrain.

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