Examination of the Comatose Patient

Jerome B. Posner, Clifford B. Saper, Nicholas D. Schiff and Fred Plum

in Plum and Posner's Diagnosis of Stupor and Coma

Fourth edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780195321319
Published online April 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199322954 | DOI:

Series: Contemporary Neurology Series

Examination of the Comatose Patient

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The evaluation of the patient with a reduced level of consciousness, like that of any patient, requires a history (to the extent possible), physical examination, and laboratory evaluation. These are considered, in turn, in this chapter. However, as soon as it is determined that a patient has a depressed level of consciousness, the next step is to ensure that the patient’s brain is receiving adequate blood and oxygen. The emergency treatment of the comatose patient is detailed in Chapter 7. The physiology and pathophysiology of the cerebral circulation and of respiration are considered in the paragraphs below.

Chapter.  29443 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology

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