Quality of Life in Locked-in Syndrome Survivors

  • M. -A. Bruno
  • F. Pellas
  • S. Laureys
Conference paper


Pseudocoma or locked-in syndrome was first described by Plum and Posner in 1966 [2]. The patient with locked-in syndrome is fully conscious but interaction with the external world is very limited due to anarthria, lower cranial nerve paralysis, and quadriplegia. Usually, but not always, the anatomy of the responsible lesion in the brainstem is such that locked-in syndrome patients are left with the capacity to use vertical eye movements and blinking to communicate. The earliest example of a ‘locked-in patient’ was described in 1854 in Alexandre Dumas’s novel “The Count of Monte Cristo”. Some years later, Zola described a woman who was paralyzed and “buried alive in a dead body” but could communicate via eye movements in his book “Therese Raquin”. Dumas and Zola thus described the locked-in syndrome before the medical community did.


Suicidal Thought Original Title Central Pontine Myelinolysis Basilar Artery Occlusion Brain Stem Lesion 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media Inc. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. -A. Bruno
    • 1
  • F. Pellas
    • 2
  • S. Laureys
    • 1
  1. 1.Coma Science Group, Cyclotron Research Centre and, Neurology DepartmentUniversity of Liege - Sart Tilman (B30)LiegeBelgium
  2. 2.Neurorehabilitation MedicineHopital Caremeau CHUNimesFrance

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