The neuropathology of the vegetative state after an acute brain insult

J. H. Adams
2000 Brain  
The vegetative state is often described clinically as loss of function of the cortex while the function of the brainstem is preserved. In an attempt to define the structural basis of the vegetative state we have undertaken a detailed neuropathological study of the brains of 49 patients who remained vegetative until death, 1 month to 8 years after an acute brain insult. Of these, 35 had sustained a blunt head injury and 14 some type of acute non-traumatic brain damage. In the traumatic cases the
more » ... commonest structural abnormalities identified were grades 2 and 3 diffuse axonal injury (25 cases, 71%). The thalamus was abnormal in 28 cases (80%), and in 96% of the cases who survived for more than 3 months. Other abnormalities included ischaemic damage in the neocortex (13 cases, Keywords: vegetative state; head injury; cerebral hypoxia Abbreviations: DAI ϭ diffuse axonal injury; TCI ϭ total contusion index
doi:10.1093/brain/123.7.1327 pmid:10869046 fatcat:btneyfwo6fbg7ii2mqsek7m2w4