[en] Vegetative state ; Minimally conscious state ; Consciousness ; PET ; fMRI ; Severity of Illness Index
[en] Currently, there remains a high rate of misdiagnosis of the vegetative state. This should incite clinicians to use the most sensitive "coma scales" to detect signs of consciousness in these patients. The gold standard remains the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS, Teasdale and Jennet, 1974), with the Glasgow Liege Scale (GLS, Born, 1988) adding standardized assessment of brainstem reflexes. New sensible behavioral assessment tools for use in the acute neurocritical care setting include the Full Outline of UnResponsiveness (FOUR, Wijdicks et al., 2005). The Coma Recovery Scale-Revised (CRS-R, Giacino and Kalmar, 2004) specifically tests the diagnostic criteria differentiating vegetative from minimally conscious patients. Detecting signs of consciousness also depends on the employed methodology. We showed that for the assesment of the presence of visual pursuit, using a moving mirror is better suited than using a moving object or person. The clinical diagnosis can be confirmed by cerebral positron emission tomography studies objectively quantifying residual metabolic activity in vegetative and minimally conscious patients. Ongoing studies evaluate the prognostic value of functional magnetic resonance imaging studies in these challenging patient populations.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; CHU ; Action de Recherche Concertée Belge de la Communauté Française (ARC) ; Fondation Léon Frédérique