What is Coma?

21:53 - 4 May , 2021


The so-called state of coma refers to losing consciousness for a prolonged period, caused by various causes such as stroke, blows to the head, brain tumors, infections, intoxications, and even conditions such as diabetes and others.

It is an emergency, so it is essential to receive immediate treatment to avoid fatal outcomes and minimize the brain damage it can cause. For this reason, various blood tests and brain scans are performed in the Emergency Room to identify the cause of the coma and start treatment as soon as possible.

The duration of the coma does not usually exceed two or three weeks, but when it does, in most cases, patients are in a vegetative state or brain dead.

Signs and symptoms Coma

  • Lack of response in the limbs.
  • The patient does not react to induced pain.
  • Breathing problems.
  • Closed eyelids.
  • Decreased brainstem reflexes.

Sometimes, when there are patients who return from a coma, they usually have some damage or disability to a lesser or greater degree. Likewise, during the coma, a series of complications arise due to prostration, such as:

  • Pressure ulcers.
  • Infections.
  • Clots.

Diagnosis and treatment Coma

Due to the inability of expression of the person in a coma, their relatives or companions must be prepared to provide the doctors with all the information they need:

  • Say the patient’s clinical history, to verify possible previous events that could affect the current coma.
  • Previous behavioral and health changes.
  • Addictions and drug intake habits.
  • Symptoms before the coma episode.
  • The way consciousness was lost.

In addition to a thorough physical examination, a series of blood tests will be performed to determine abnormalities in glucose levels, electrolytes, and kidney and liver function, as well as the presence of toxic substances or drugs.

Imaging studies should also be applied to locate the root of the problem, such as MRI, computed tomography, and an electroencephalogram.

The treatment plan is variable and depends on the cause of the coma, so if there is high brain pressure, drugs or procedures should be used to reduce it, if it is a diabetic coma or a brain infection, you can administer the necessary medications to counteract them.

On the other hand, if the coma is due to a drug overdose, convulsive episodes, or underlying diseases, the medications required by the particular case will be prescribed.

When a family member or friend falls into a coma, it is essential to go to the ABC Medical Center Emergency Room to receive immediate medical attention and prevent possible severe complications that can put their life at risk.


  • cdc.gov
  • msdmanuals.com
  • mayoclinic.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • healthline.com
  • medigraphic.com
  • Riverón-Carralero WJ, Rondón-Vázquez AF, Góngora-Gómez O. Coma hipopotasémico: a propósito de un caso. Universidad Médica Pinareña. 2020;16(1):1-6.
  • García S, Sauri SS, Meza DE, et al. Estado de coma y trastornos de la conciencia: una revisión analítica desde un enfoque neurofuncional. Parte II. Rev Esp Med Quir. 2013;18(2):142-147.
  • Ramírez MJA, Moranchel GL. Coma mixedematoso ¿cuándo sospecharlo? . Aten Fam. 2019;26(3):106-108.
  • Hodelín TR, Machado CC. Estado vegetativo persistente: un reto para las Neurociencias contemporáneas. Rev Cubana Neurol Neurocir. 2011;1(1):44-51.

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    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.