What causes coma in head injured people?
The word coma is a Greek word that translates to ‘deep sleep’, and is currently used to indicate prolonged states of unconsciousness. Coma is a specific neurobehavioral diagnostic term that denotes unarousability (with the absence of sleep/wake cycles on electroencephalogram (EEG) and the loss of the capacity for environmental interaction). The cause typically consists of severe, diffuse bilateral brain damage and/or brain stem injury.
There are many things that can cause a person to go into a coma. These include: cerebrovascular accident (also known as stroke), brain tumor, head injury, meningitis, encephalitis, drug overdose, and diabetes (e.g., diabetic coma). Coma can occur from a specific area of brain damage or as a result of some disorder which acts generally upon the nervous system (e. g., anoxia).
Survivors of major head trauma can remain in coma for days to weeks. The depth of coma is measured by the Glasgow Coma Scale, which is an assessment of three neurologic functions-eye opening, speaking, and moving. A GCS score of 8 or less has traditionally been considered the standard for objectively establishing the diagnosis of coma. Almost 90 per cent of patients with the lowest scores die during the first day. By the end of three weeks, most comatose patients generally have either improved or died.
When coma patients improve, their transition is frequently rocky. TBI makes patients confined, disoriented, agitated, and combative.