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Suffering from persistent vegetative state. Is there any possibility of improvement?

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Neurologist, Surgical
Practicing since : 2002
Answered : 173 Questions
My mother is having quadri-paresis with radial nerve palsy in right upper limb. She is on ryles' tube feed. Does not respond to verbal commands and does not speak. However, she responds to stimulus of touch and opens her eyes. However, she does not recognize the persons or the objects around her (dis-oriented). She has developed contractures in both elbow joints and has wrist drop in right hand.

Her general condition is being monitored every day. Her BP is stable around 110/70 and saturation between 93 to 97. However, the pulse rate fluctuates and we have seen it going upto 150/min which comes down by administration of propranol (10-20 mg). Her general condition is not improving.

Please let us know if there is any possibility of improvement in her condition and what should be the possible next steps if any.
Posted Sat, 27 Oct 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Vineet Saggar 39 hours later
Dear friend,

After reading the whole history what I can understand is that your mother is suffering from persistent vegetative state which occurs as a result of extensive damage to the brain.

Now since your mother also suffered from dementia and cerebral degeneration, chances of recovery in such patients are very less because neural loss is accelerated in these patients.

Since most of the recovery in brain is via compensatory mechanisms and not by regeneration that possibility is also less in these patients as frontal loss in brain is extensive in dement. SO my friend the treatment available in your patient is supportive only and hope that she makes some recovery, however chances of that happening are less because of her inherent problem and condition.

Do let me know if you have more concerns.

Dr Vineet
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