Coma is difficult to define because brain failure exists along a spectrum of unresponsiveness. Both the alerting and the content portions of consciousness are impaired in coma. The definition of an eyes-closed state with inappropriate responses to environmental stimuli is still a useful one. A variety of terms are used to describe patients with lowered levels of consciousness; delirium is discussed in some detail above. Stupor, obtundation, and lethargy are so inexactly used that they have little meaning. A description of the patient's responses to stimuli at one moment in time is still the best assessment of level of consciousness. Though originally designed for statistical analysis of head-injured patients, the Glasgow coma scale is widely used in many clinical situations. Its advantages include a simple scoring system and assessment of separate verbal, motor, and eye-opening functions. Its disadvantages include lack of assessment of hemiparesis or other focal motor signs and lack of testing of higher cognitive functions.
Was this article helpful?
This guide will help millions of people understand this condition so that they can take control of their lives and make informed decisions. The ebook covers information on a vast number of different types of neuropathy. In addition, it will be a useful resource for their families, caregivers, and health care providers.