People in a coma are completely unresponsive. They do not move, do not react to light or sound and cannot feel pain.
A coma is similar to a dream-like state because the individual is alive but not conscious. A coma occurs when there is little-to-no brain activity. The patient is unable to respond to touch, sound, and other stimuli. It is also rare for someone in a coma to cough, sneeze, or communicate in any way.
This means that unconscious beings are not only cognitively active, but might also experience emotions—both positive and negative.
Whyte says that coma patients who recover seldom complain of painful events or treatment during their comatose state, but this shouldn't be taken as evidence they never felt pain, because their memories are so impaired during this time that they wouldn't remember anyway even if they did feel pain.
When people are in comas, they are unconscious and cannot communicate with their environment. They cannot speak and their eyes are closed. They look as if they are asleep. However, the brain of a coma patient may continue to work.
Someone who is in a coma is unconscious and has minimal brain activity. They're alive, but can't be woken up and show no signs of being aware. The person's eyes will be closed and they'll appear to be unresponsive to their environment.
'Remembering' What Was Never There
More commonly, people remember things that never happened. It's hard to characterize the different mental experiences that people have while in a coma. Some of them may be dreams, others are hallucinations.
Even though those in a persistent vegetative state lose their higher brain functions, other key functions such as breathing and circulation remain relatively intact. Spontaneous movements may occur, and the eyes may open in response to external stimuli. Individuals may even occasionally grimace, cry, or laugh.
Whether they dream or not probably depends on the cause of the coma. If the visual cortex is badly damaged, visual dreams will be lost; if the auditory cortex is destroyed, then they will be unable to hear dreamed voices.
Before entering a coma, a person with worsening low blood sugar, known as diabetic shock, or excessively high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood, called hypercapnia, may first experience headaches, irritability, and slurred speech.
A comatose patient may open his eyes, move and even cry while still remaining unconscious. His brain-stem reflexes are attached to a nonfunctioning cortex. Reflex without reflection.
What is a coma? A coma, sometimes also called persistent vegetative state, is a profound or deep state of unconsciousness. Persistent vegetative state is not brain-death. An individual in a state of coma is alive but unable to move or respond to his or her environment.
A coma doesn't usually last longer than several weeks. People who are unconscious for a longer time might transition to a lasting vegetative state, known as a persistent vegetative state, or brain death.
Annie Shapiro (1913–2003) was a Canadian apron shop owner who was in a coma for 29 years because of a massive stroke and suddenly awakened in 1992. Apart from the patients in the true story Awakenings, Shapiro was the longest a person has been in a coma like state and woken up.
People in a coma will not age like conscious people living life. Muscles weaken & emaciate. The damaged part of the brain might deteriorate as a result of inflammation to the area.
A case of pituitary coma with continuing menstruation is presented. This association is extremely rare, but a history of recent menstrual periods does not exclude advanced hypopituitarism from the differential diagnosis of severe hyponatraemia.
Clinically, a coma can be defined as the inability consistently to follow a one-step command. It can also be defined as a score of ≤ 8 on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) lasting ≥ 6 hours. For a patient to maintain consciousness, the components of wakefulness and awareness must be maintained.
Most comas do not last for more than two to four weeks. A patient's potential for recovery often relates to their score on what's known as the Glasgow Coma Scale tool, which assesses three areas: eye opening, verbal response to a command and voluntary movements.
Typically, a coma does not last more than a few days or couple of weeks. In some rare cases, a person might stay in a coma for several weeks, months or even years. Depending on what caused the person to go into a coma, some patients are able to return to their normal lives after leaving the hospital.
Depth of coma
Those who show no motor response have a 3% chance of making a good recovery whereas those who show flexion have a better than 15% chance.
Speaking may not affect their clinical outcome; time spent with them takes time away from other, more "viable" patients. Comatose patients may, however, hear; many have normal brain-stem auditory evoked responses and normal physiologic responses to auditory stimuli.
The chances of someone recovering from a coma largely depend on the severity and cause of their brain injury, their age and how long they've been in a coma. But it's impossible to accurately predict whether the person will eventually recover, how long the coma will last and whether they'll have any long-term problems.
The patient will be confused about where he or she is and what has happened. The patient will have difficulty with memory and behavior. The patient's confusion may lead to yelling, swearing, biting, or striking out.
Brain death: Irreversible cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem. A person who is brain dead is dead, with no chance of revival. Coma: A state of profound unresponsiveness as a result of severe illness or brain injury.