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Had heart attack, into medically induced coma. Having seizures. Chances of brain damage?

Hello doctor, A close friend of the family recently had a heart attack and was put into a medically induced coma . I read some basic info on it and why it is done. Now my main question is why do patients have seizures during these types of comas and how does affect the brain? Is it normal for the siezures to occur? What are the chances of her having brain damage and what kind of brain function is expected to have during this kind of coma? Thank you, Ana
Asked On : Sat, 9 Feb 2013
Answers:  2 Views:  2520
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Neurologist 's  Response
Nov 2013

Based on your query, I want to say that generally, coma is not induced for heart attacks. Whether your friend had a cardiac arrest (where the heart beats stop for some time) and was revived. I think this must be the case.

Here, the chances of brain recovery depends on the duration for which heart was not beating, until it was revived with resuscitation. Anything more than five minutes results in significant brain damage.

The exact damage can be assessed with tests such as EEG and evoked potential studies. Clinical examination by a neurologist can also help in that.

Seizures are common in this condition.

Best wishes,
Dr Sudhir Kumar MD DM (Neurology)
Senior Consultant Neurologist
Answered: Sat, 9 Feb 2013
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General & Family Physician Dr. Luchuo Engelbert Bain's  Response
many circumstances can lead to seizures i comatose patients depending on the cause of the coma. In this case with a past history of myocardial infarction, this is a risk factor for formation of clots or emboli. These could move to the brain, cause focal neurologic manifestations in affected areas like stroke. Secondly, in comatose patients, high temperatures , low blood glucose or hypoglycemia could easily lead to seizures. Electrolyte abnormalities in these comatose patients too could lead to these seizures. Reason why in these patients, a keen supervision of body temperature, blood glucose and electrolyte levels, electrolyte disturbances many times a day are usually done.
Depending on the frequency of these seizures, this could lead to permanent brain damage. The more frequent they are, the greater the risk of having permanent brain damage, reason why monitoring and prompt treatment of the seizures is important.
Thanks and best regards as I hope this helps,
Best regards,
Luchuo, MD.
Answered: Sat, 9 Feb 2013
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