Common Specialities
Common Issues
Common Treatments


Last Updated: Nov 01, 2019
Change Language

Coma: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is Coma? How is the treatment done? Are there any side effects? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent?

What is Coma?

Coma is also known as blackout, insensibility, knockout, swim, swoon, syncope. A coma is a prolonged state of unconsciousness. During a coma, a person is unresponsive to his or her environment. The person is alive and looks like he or she is sleeping. However, unlike in a deep sleep, the person cannot be awakened by any stimulation, including pain.Treatment for a coma depends on the cause. People close to the comatose patient should give doctors as much information as possible to help the doctors determine the cause of coma. Prompt medical attention is vital to treat potentially reversible conditions. For example, if there is an infection that's affecting the brain, antibiotics may be needed.

Glucose may be required in the event of a diabetic shock. Surgery may also be necessary to relieve the pressure on the brain due to swelling or to remove a tumor.Certain drugs may also help relieve the swelling. Medication may also be given to stop seizures if necessary.In general, treatment for a coma is supportive. People in comas are looked after in an intensive care unit and may often require full life support until their situation improves.Sometimes the cause of a coma can be completely reversed and the affected person will regain normal function. But if the affected person has suffered severe brain damage, he or she may sustain permanent disabilities or may never regain consciousness. The person may enter a persistent vegetative state or become brain dead.

How is the treatment done?

A coma is a serious medical emergency.Health professionals will start by ensuring the immediate survival of the patient and securing their breathing and circulation to maximize the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain.A doctor may administer glucose or antibiotics even before the results of blood tests are ready, in case the patient is in diabetic shock or has a brain infection.Treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the coma, for example, kidney failure, liver disease, diabetes, poisoning, and so on.If there is brain swelling, surgery may be needed to relieve the pressure.A coma is a medical emergency. Doctors will first check the affected person's airway and help maintain breathing (respiration) and circulation. Doctors may give breathing assistance, blood transfusions and other supportive care.

Emergency personnel may administer glucose or antibiotics intravenously, even before blood test results return, in case of diabetic shock or an infection affecting the brain.Treatment varies, depending on the cause of the coma. A procedure or medications to relieve pressure on the brain due to brain swelling may be needed.If the coma is the result of drug overdose, doctors will give medications to treat the condition. If the coma is due to seizures, doctors will administer medications to control seizures.Other treatments may focus on medications or therapies to address an underlying disease, such as diabetes or liver disease.

Who is eligible for the treatment?

Comas are caused by an injury to the brain. Brain injury can be due to increased pressure, bleeding, loss of oxygen, or buildup of toxins. The injury can be temporary and reversible. It also can be permanent.More than 50% of comas are related to head trauma or disturbances in the brain's circulatory system. Problems that can lead to coma include:Trauma: Head injuries can cause the brain to swell and/or bleed. When the brain swells as a result of trauma, the fluid pushes up against the skull.Bleeding: Bleeding in the layers of the brain may cause coma due to swelling and compression on the injured side of the brain.

Stroke : When there is no blood flow to a major part of the brain stem or loss of blood accompanied with swelling, coma can occur.Blood sugar : In people with diabetes, coma can occur when blood sugar levels stay very high. That's a condition known as hyperglycemia. Hypoglycemia, or blood sugar that's too low, can also lead to a coma. This type of coma is usually reversible once the blood sugar is corrected.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

The signs and symptoms of a coma commonly include:Closed eyes, Depressed brainstem reflexes, such as pupils not responding to light,No responses of limbs, except for reflex movements,No response to painful stimuli, except for reflex movements,Irregular breathing.If a person does not face any of the signs then he or she is not in coma.

Are there any side effects?

Although many people gradually recover from a coma, others enter a vegetative state or die. Some people who recover from a coma may have major or minor disabilities.Complications may develop during a coma, including pressure sores, bladder infections, blood clots in the legs and other problems During a coma, a person cannot communicate, so diagnosis is through the outward signs.These include: closed eyes, limbs that do not respond or voluntarily move, except for reflex movements, lack of response to painful stimuli, except for reflex movements.

How long these will take to develop, and how long they will continue, depend on the underlying cause.Before entering a coma, a person with worsening hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), or hypercapnia (higher blood CO2 levels), for example, will first experience mild agitation. Without treatment, their ability to think clearly will gradually decrease. Finally, they will lose consciousness.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

In the longer term, healthcare staff will give supportive treatment on a hospital ward. This can involve providing nutrition, trying to prevent infections, moving the person regularly so they don't develop bedsores, and gently exercising their joints to stop them becoming tight.A person in a coma may become restless, or seize and need special care to prevent them from hurting themselves. Medicine may be given to calm such individuals. Patients who are restless may also try to pull on tubes or dressings so soft cloth wrist restraints may be put on. Side rails on the bed should be kept up to prevent the patient from falling.Coma has a wide variety of emotional reactions from the family members of the affected patients, as well as the primary care givers taking care of the patients. Common reactions, such as desperation, anger, frustration, and denial are possible. The focus of the patient care should be on creating an amicable relationship with the family members or dependents of a comatose patient as well as creating a rapport with the medical staff

How long does it take to recover?

The chances of a person's recovery depend on the cause of the coma, whether the problem can be corrected, and the duration of the coma. If the problem can be resolved, the person can often return to his or her original level of functioning. Sometimes, though, if the brain damage is severe, a person may be permanently disabled/never regain consciousness.Comas that result from drug poisonings have a high rate of recovery if prompt medical attention is received. Comas that result from head injuries tend to have a higher rate of recovery than comas related to lack of oxygen.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

No specific information is available.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

It can be very difficult to predict recovery when a person is a coma. If the cause of the coma can be successfully treated, the person may eventually awaken with no permanent damage.They are likely to be confused at first, but then they usually remember what happened before the coma, and be able to continue their life. Typically, some rehabilitation therapy is necessary.If brain damage has occurred, long-term impairment may result. If the person awakens, they may need to relearn basic skills, and they may not remember what happened.

Popular Questions & Answers

Popular Health Tips

MD - Diabetology, Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS), MBBS
Endocrinologist, Kochi
Hypoglycemia means "less-than-normal blood sugar level" (ie, less than 70 mg%). All medicines taken for Diabetes can cause hypoglycemia. However, Insulins & certain drugs like Glibenclamide (Daonil) are more risky than others. The symptoms of hypo...
7 people found this helpful

C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha
Water requirements, infant: Water is an important part of a baby's diet because water makes up a large proportion of the baby's body. When properly prepared, all infant formulas are approximately 85% water. Infant formulas are available in three f...
6 people found this helpful

Can Diabetes Lead To Emergencies? Here Is How Can You Deal With It!

PG Diploma Endocrinology, MD - General Medicine, Certification In Diabetes, MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
Endocrinologist, Delhi
Can Diabetes Lead To Emergencies? Here Is How Can You Deal With It!
Diabetes is known as a silent killer and this name is well earned. Research findings have shown that around 20 lakh Indians suffer from diabetes of which 5 lakh are not aware that they are diabetic. Managing diabetes can be a difficult task but de...
1764 people found this helpful

Extremely Low Thyroxine And Its Complications!

MBBS, DNB (General Medicine)
General Physician, Delhi
Extremely Low Thyroxine And Its Complications!
What is Thyroxine? Thyroxine, also known as T4, is the main hormone which is secreted by the thyroid gland into the bloodstream. Although it is an inactive form, most of it is converted to an active form called triiodothyronine by organs such as t...
3553 people found this helpful

Shocking! Lychees Claim 48 Innocent Lives in Bihar - Know How!

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
General Physician, Faridabad
Shocking! Lychees Claim 48 Innocent Lives in Bihar - Know How!
The consumption of unripe litchis (lychees) is said to be responsible for the death of 48 children in Muzaffarpur, which is one of the leading districts producing litchi in Bihar. These children consumed litchi on an empty stomach. The authorities...
3 people found this helpful
Content Details
Written By
ACLS,POST GRADUATE COURSE IN RHEUMATOLOGY,Fellowship in Diabetes,MBBS,Post Graduate Course In Rheumatology,MD - Medicine,Masters in Psychotherapy and Counselling
Internal Medicine
Play video
Hi! I am Dr. Abhay Patil from Ashwini Homeopathy. We have established our homeopathy center in 1994 and it is a registered clinic. We are classical homeopaths and are placed in Vashi. Since past 10 years we have developed the science in which we a...
Play video
Insomnia And Sleeping Disorder
Hello, I am Dr. Hardik Thakkar, MD physician. Today I would like to take this opportunity to speak about insomnia and sleeping disorders. So, as we all know this is a very common complaint that we see in an urban population, there are a lot of pat...
Play video
Liver Failure (Cirrhosis) And Transplant
Hello everyone, My name is Dr. Siddharth here. I am a multi-organ abdominal surgeon and I am working as a consultant for liver transplant. Today I thought I will talk about something which a lot of my patients have common as questions. A lot of my...
Play video
Complications of Diabetes
Hello! I m Dr. Shefali Karkhanis so I m practicing diabetes specialist at Thane, Mumbai. Today I m going to give you an overview complications of diabetes. We all know the diabetes is basically a high blood sugar cause because of imbalance between...
Play video
Consumption Of Alcohol - Know The Bad Effects Of It!
Hello, I am Dr G.S. Lamba, Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Now we all know that consumption of alcohol has been there in the mankind from time immemorial. So people have been drinking alcohol and there has always been a concern about the ill effe...
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice