Time to Rethink Prognosis After Prolonged Unconsciousness?

(MedScape) – Most patients who become comatose after experiencing moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) recover consciousness in the short term — and nearly half regain functional independence, new research suggests.

The study, which included more than 17,000 patients who were hospitalized with moderate and severe TBI over three decades, showed that even when they remained unconscious at the end of their initial acute hospital care and were admitted for subsequent inpatient rehabilitation, 82% recovered consciousness by rehab completion.

“The results of our study, we think, show that caution is warranted in making decisions to withdraw or hold care in patients with these serious brain injuries,” lead author Robert G. Kowalski, MBBCh, Department of Neurology, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aurora, told Medscape Medical News. CONTINUE