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All about coma causes of coma symptoms of coma diagnosis of coma treatment for coma prognosis of coma

How is coma diagnosed?

As in any neurologic condition, history and examination form the cornerstone of diagnosis when the patient is in a coma; however, history must be obtained from family, friends, or EMS. The Glasgow Coma Scale is a system of examining a comatose patient. It is helpful for evaluating the depth of the coma, tracking the patient's progress, and predicting (somewhat) the ultimate outcome of the coma. The Glasgow Coma Scale assigns a different number of points for exam

results in three different categories: opening the eyes, verbal response (using words or voice to respond), and motor response (moving a part of the body). Fifteen is the largest possible number of total points, indicating the highest level of functioning. The highest level of functioning would be demonstrated by an individual who spontaneously opens his/her eyes, gives appropriate answers to questions about his/her situation, and can carry out a command (such as "move your leg" or "nod your head"). Three is the least possible number of total points and would be given to a patient for whom not even a painful stimulus is sufficient to provoke a response. In the middle are those patients who may be able to respond, but who require an intense or painful stimulus, and whose response may demonstrate some degree of brain malfunctioning (such as a person whose only response to pain in a limb is to bend that limb in toward the body). When performed as part of the admission examination, a Glasgow score of three to five points often suggests that the patient has likely suffered fatal brain damage, while eight or more points indicates that the patient's chances for recovery are good. Expansion of the pupils and respiratory pattern are also important. Metabolic causes of coma are diagnosed from blood work and urinalysis to evaluate blood chemistry, drug screen, and blood cell abnormalities that may indicate infection. Anatomic causes of coma are diagnosed from CT (computed tomography scans) or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scans.

More information on coma

What is coma? - Coma is a state of extreme unresponsiveness, in which an individual exhibits no voluntary movement or behavior.
What causes coma? - Coma is the result of something that interferes with the functioning of the cerebral cortex and/or the functioning of the structures which make up the RAS.
What're the symptoms of coma? - Coma involves the loss of awareness of self and the surrounding environment. Patients are alive but unable to move or respond to their environment.
How is coma diagnosed? - Glasgow Coma Scale is a system of examining a comatose patient. It is helpful for evaluating the depth of the coma, tracking the patient's progress.
What's the treatment for coma? - Coma is a medical emergency, and attention must first be directed to maintaining the patient's respiration and circulation.
What's the prognosis of coma? - Outcome from a coma is quite variable and depends a great deal on the cause and duration of the coma.
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