More Facts about Comas
A) The Glasgow Coma Scale, which is used to measure the conscious state of a person, has a range of 3 to 15 with 3 being a person in a coma with the lowest possible score and 15 being a normal appearing person. Usually, the response of a patient on the Glasgow Coma Scale within 24 hours after suffering a brain injury helps doctors to better gauge a patients’ outcome.
For instance if the best scale is 3 to 4 after twenty four hours, 87% of those individuals will either die or remain in a vegetative state and only 7% will have a moderate disability or good recovery.
In patients who score within a scale of 5 to 7, 53% will die or remain in a vegetative state, and 34% will have a moderate disability and/or a good recovery. Of Patients with a GCS of 8 to 10, within the first twenty four hours, 27% will die or remain in a coma, while 68% will likely have a moderate disability and/or a good recovery.
Patients who have a scale from 11 to 15, only 7% will be expected to die or remain in a coma, while 87% would be expected to have at least a moderate disability and/or a good recovery.
These are only guidelines and in no way should be taken as an exact science.
Read More: Understanding the Glasgow Coma Scale
B) Most patients in comas end with the opening of the eyes and the regaining of consciousness. Those who do not usually respond to environmental stimuli are said to be in an Apalic State. Apallic State is defined as a state of persistent unresponsiveness caused by brain trauma. Approximately 10% of patients who open their eyes fail to regain consciousness and are classified as being in an Apallic State.
C) Studies have shown that patients who remain in a vegetative state for at least one year after their brain injury are unlikely to regain consciousness, though they may live for many years.
D) Post coma patients 40 years of age and older have a poorer rate of recovery than patients under the age of 40.
E) An absence of eye opening within the first thirty days after suffering a brain injury usually indicates a poor prognosis for complete recovery.
F) 90% of brain injury patients who remain in a vegetative state for one month or longer usually fail to improve to a state better than a severe disability. But, two thirds of patients who were unconscious for two weeks or less can make a moderate to good recovery.
G) Appalic patients often benefit from rehabilitation which includes sensory stimulation. This type of rehabilitation has proven beneficial for brain injury patients who are at the boundary of coma and wakefulness.
H) The most common cause of comas is oxygen deprivation. Anoxia is a complete loss of oxygen and hypoxia is a reduced level of oxygen over a period of time. Anoxemia is when a person’s blood supply lacks oxygen. When a person is deprived of oxygen for five to ten minutes the results are usually fatal. Most patients who have suffered from some sort of oxygen deprivation and are not comatose, usually have impaired learning ability.