mise à jour du
17 juin 2007
Persistent vegetative state
Modi Manish, Singla Veenu
Chandigarh, India
with the permission of the authors (thanks)
Yawning's persistence in vegetative state : a case report


A young man was resuscitated from a deep comatose state following unobserved cardiac arrest. Head CT done a few hours later revealed bilateral basal ganglia hypodensities, suggestive of hypoxic-ischemic brain damage (figure 1).
Six months post-resuscitation, the patient had spontaneous eye movements, chewing, and yawning, but no purposeful movement on verbal or visual stimuli. Repeat head CT (figure 2) revealed grossly shrunken residual brain parenchyma, correlating with clinical picture of persistent vegetative state, a term introduced by Jennett and Plum to describe a state of continuing "wakefulness without awareness."
The common causes of persistent vegetative state include head injury and hypoxic ischemic damage.
1. Jennett B, Plum F. Persistent vegetative state after brain damage. Lancet 1972;i:234-237.
2. The Multi Society Task Force on PVS. Medical aspects of the persistent vegetative state (Part I). N EngI j Med 1994;330:14991508.
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