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Approach to the Patient with Coma

Coma is an acute failure of neuronal systems governing arousal and awareness and represents a medical emergency. When encountering a comatose patient, the clinician must have an organized approach to detect easily remediable causes, prevent ongoing neurologic injury, and determine a hierarchical plan for diagnostic tests, treatments, and neuromonitoring. Coma was chosen as an Emergency Neurological Life Support protocol because timely medical and surgical interventions can be life-saving, and the initial work-up of such patients is critical to establishing a correct diagnosis.




Robert D. Stevens, Rhonda S. Cadena & Jose Pineda


Neurocritical Care volume 23