Coma and Brain Death

  • Anna M. Cervantes-ArslanianEmail author
  • Melissa Mercado
  • David M. Greer
Part of the Current Clinical Neurology book series (CCNEU)


Disorders of consciousness are routinely seen in the neurocritical care unit (NCCU). This chapter reviews the neuroanatomical basis for coma, followed by a detailed discussion of the common differential diagnoses, including cerebrovascular, epileptiform, traumatic, infectious, toxic, and metabolic etiologies. Practical guidance regarding examination and management follows. Brain death is discussed in detail. Practical steps in preparing patients for and proceeding with the determination of brain death are reviewed. Guidance is provided for discussing brain death with families and preparing for organ donation.


Coma |Brain death Consciousness Brainstem Stupor Encephalopathy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna M. Cervantes-Arslanian
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Melissa Mercado
    • 4
  • David M. Greer
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Departments of NeurologyBoston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Departments of NeurosurgeryBoston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical CenterBostonUSA
  3. 3.Departments of MedicineBoston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical CenterBostonUSA
  4. 4.Department of NeurologyBaystate Medical CenterSpringfieldUSA

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