|Brainstem and Cerebrum|
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- Severe head injury—most often a result of car accidents, violence, or falls.
- Brain illness such as:
- Lack of oxygen to the brain which may be due to:
Severe general illness such as:
- Severe bodily infections
- Severe acute liver or kidney failure
- High carbon dioxide levels
- Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Toxicity from poisons, medication, alcohol , or drugs
- Abnormal hormone levels, such as from the thyroid or adrenal gland
- Abnormal blood chemistries, such as sodium or calcium
- Very low or very high levels of blood sugar
- Very low or very high body temperatures
- Severe nutrient deficiency
- Liver failure
- Kidney failure
- Inherited metabolic diseases
- Severe illness
- Liver, kidney, or cardiovascular disease
- Tendency to have blood clots
- Exposure to poisonous substances, such as carbon dioxide
- Cancer and chemotherapy
- Traveling in a vehicle at a high rate of speed or at night
- Lack of sleep
- A previous head injury
No response to stimulus, such as:
Spontaneous body movements, such as:
- Eyes opening and closing
- Irregular breathing
- Blood tests
- Urine test
- Lumbar puncture
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)
- Evoked potentials
- 15-13—mild brain injury
- 12-9—moderate brain injury
- 8 or less—a severe brain injury
- Monitoring of vital signs
- Oxygen therapy
- Delivering fluids directly into the blood through an IV
- Ventilator to help support breathing
- Glucose delivered through IV—in case low blood sugar is causing the coma
- Naloxone—if a narcotics overdose is suspected
- Thiamine (vitamin B1) may be given with glucose if alcoholism or malnutrition is suspected
- Wear a seatbelt . Make sure infants and small children are securely fastened in a child safety seat.
- Children aged 12 years and under should ride in the back seat of a vehicle.
- Wear an appropriate helmet while biking, rollerblading, playing contact sports, skiing, snowboarding, and riding a motorcycle.
- Wear athletic mouth guards while playing sports.
- Do not abuse alcohol or drugs .
- If you have diabetes, see your doctor regularly and take appropriate steps to regulate your blood sugar levels.
- If you are ill or take medication, see your doctor regularly for check-ups.
Brain Injury Association of America http://www.biausa.org
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov
Brain Injury Association of Canada http://biac-aclc.ca
Ontario Brain Injury Association http://www.obia.ca
Coma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 9, 2013. Accessed November 18, 2014.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 12/2014 -
- Update Date: 12/20/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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