The clinical courses of patients who have undergone severe episodes of anoxia are similar. Severity of symptoms and pathological changes depend on the amount of oxygen supplied to the vital organs, the ability of the vital organs to utilize the available oxygen, and the susceptibility of the person to anoxic insults.
Courville1 gave a complete and classic description of the clinical course and pathological findings in persons who had suffered acute oxygen lack. World War II stimulated interest and investigations in respiratory and circulatory physiology because of the need for high altitude flying. This more than any other factor stimulated a widespread interest in oxygen demand and supply. It changed the pattern of our thinking and emphasized the disastrous results of even mild anoxia. We began to understand that even slightly diminished oxygen tension could cause mental confusion and unconsciousness and also that severer lack of oxygen could result
Mousel LH. CEREBRAL EDEMA AND ITS RELATION TO BARBITURIC ACID POISONING. JAMA. 1953;153(5):459–462. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.02940220003002
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