Clinical and neurological features of patients in a vegetative state after severe traumatic brain injury during restorative treatment and rehabilitation


  • O.V. Kulyk Scientific and Practical Center of Neurorehabilitation “Nodus”, Brovary, Ukraine



vegetative state, traumatic brain injury, post-coma disorders of consciousness, rehabilitation route, clinical and neurological presentation, features of vegetative state


The work is based on the results of diagnosis, rehabilitation and restorative treatment of 220 patients with post-coma long-term disorders of consciousness after severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The main attention is paid to the currently relevant topic — a group of syndromes of prolonged depression of consciousness after severe TBI, namely the most difficult of them — the vegetative state, in which patients are admitted for rehabilitation treatment and undergo a rehabilitation route. The clinical and neurological features of the vegetative state of patients which were of key importance on the rehabilitation route were revealed, on the one hand, to determine the effectiveness of treatment, and, on the other hand, to predict the transition to higher stages of post-coma consciousness. The study focuses on the fact that there was no correlation between changes in neurological status, especially reflex, motor, sensitive spheres, and duration of stay in this stage of post-coma disorder of consciousness, and even more so, access to higher levels of restored consciousness. It is noted that the scale/classification of T.A. Dobrokhotova better described this level of post-coma disorder of consciousness, since, based on the key sign, this stage was clearly distinguished from coma and other stages of post-coma consciousness recovery. Given the obtained data, it is concluded that there are no specific neurological focal symptoms, and the clinical and neurological presentation is characterized exclusively by the topical and functional features of the initially affected brain structures at the segmental and suprasegmental levels. The clinical form of severe TBI and the depth of coma that preceded the vegetative state were the only factors with which the prognosis of an exit from the vegetative state to the highest levels of post-coma consciousness had a stable rectilinear correlation. It was the patients with coma III caused by the diffuse axonal injury as a result of road accident, who did not awake from coma within a year after severe traumatic brain injury. Almost every third patient recovered only to a state of minimal consciousness, in which he stayed since then. Different neurological presentation, which was manifested in the dynamics of the consciousness restoration by axial signs, indicated only the beginning of a new stage/recovery stage and revealed active areas of interest/goal for possible/necessary therapeutic (rehabilitation) effect in order to improve the patient’s general condition, quality of life and, while the mechanisms are unknown (perhaps. activated or supplemented sanogenesis), to promote a faster transition to the highest possible level of consciousness.


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