A coma is a deep state of unconsciousness. An individual in a coma is alive but unable to move or respond to his or her environment. Coma may occur as a complication of an underlying illness, or as a result of injuries, such as brain injury.

A coma rarely lasts more than 2 to 4 weeks. The outcome for coma depends on the cause, severity, and site of the damage. People may come out of a coma with physical, intellectual, and psychological problems. Some people may remain in a coma for years or even decades. For those people, the most common cause of death is infection, such as pneumonia.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Symptoms of Coma

The following features are indicative of Coma:
  • closed eyes
  • depressed brainstem reflexes
  • no responses of limbs , except for reflex movements
  • no response to painful stimuli, except for reflex movements
  • irregular breathing

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Common Causes of Coma

The following are the most common causes of Coma:
  • traumatic brain injuries
  • stroke
  • tumors
  • diabetes
  • lack of oxygen
  • inflammation of the brain

Other Causes of Coma

The following are the less common causes of Coma:
  • ongoing seizures
  • exposure to toxins such as carbon monoxide and lead
  • overdosing on drugs
  • overconsumption of alcohol

Risk Factors for Coma

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Coma:
  • hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke
  • severe head injury
  • seizures
  • brain tumor
  • brain infections
  • hypoxia for a long time
  • metabolic abnormalities
  • toxins in body
  • liver failure or kidney failure

Prevention of Coma

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Coma.

Occurrence of Coma

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Coma cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Widely occurring between 500K - 1 Million cases

Common Age Group

Coma can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Coma can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Coma

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Coma:
  • Initial assessment and evaluation: To measure the level of consciousness
  • Physical examination findings: To check vital signs and the functioning of brain
  • Imaging tests: To detect the causes of coma

Doctor for Diagnosis of Coma

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Coma:
  • Neurologist
  • Psychiatrist

Complications of Coma if untreated

Yes, Coma causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Coma is left untreated:
  • can be fatal

Procedures for Treatment of Coma

The following procedures are used to treat Coma:
  • Administration of intravenous fluids or blood: Maintains the patient's respiration and circulation

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Coma

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Coma:
  • Physical therapy: To prevent contractures and orthopedic deformities

Patient Support for Treatment of Coma

The following actions may help Coma patients:
  • Supportive care: Maintain breathing and circulation

Time for Treatment of Coma

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Coma to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • More than 1 year

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Coma.

Related Topics

Traumatic Brain Injury

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