What is an ABI?

It wasn’t until the other day that I found out what an ABI actually stands for, I realised the letters stood for Acquired Brain Injury, but I wasn’t sure what it actually meant.

ABI stands for Acquired Brain Injury; therefore it is acquired – or gained (although I am not sure one would describe getting a brain injury as a gain!). An ABI is a brain injury that occurs AFTER birth. This includes any type of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Here is what the experts have to say:

Acquired brain injury (ABI) is brain damage caused by events after birth, rather than as part of a genetic or congenital disorder such as fetal alcohol syndrome, perinatal illness or perinatal hypoxia.

Headway’s definition of ABI is:

“A non-progressive acquired injury to the brain with sudden onset.”


“An Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is brain damage caused by events after birth and can result in cognitive, physical, emotional, or behavioural impairments leading to permanent or temporary changes in functioning. Exact figures are unknown, but a very low estimate is that over one million people live in the UK with the effects of ABI at an estimated minimum cost of £4.1 billion.”

What is important to remember is this, every single person that suffers from an ABI will have a completely different experience to the next person. No two brain injuries are the same.


So, pretty much, any injury caused to the brain is an ABI, this can be from a stroke to a car accident to a haematoma to encephalitis.

But, what is encephalitis?


Disclaimer: This site is maintained by a brain injury survivor and not a medical professional. Although all efforts are made to ensure that content is factually accurate, the author is not responsible for how the information is used. If you have any concerns about your health, seek medical attention from NHS Direct, your GP or your local hospital, or in an emergency call 999.

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