Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Vegetative State (Persistent)

  • Jacob Kean
  • Travis WilliamsEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_287


Coma vigile

Short Description or Definition

A vegetative state (VS) is a type of unconsciousness in which the patient is capable of wakefulness but not awareness. It is characterized by intermittent and sometimes prolonged wakeful eye opening in the absence of cognitive function, evidenced by lack of meaningful response or purposeful activity.


Jennett (1997) noted that patients who were unconscious but demonstrated wakefulness have been described in the literature using terms, such as apallic syndrome and coma vigile; the term vegetative was applied to these patients beginning in 1963. Persistent vegetative state (PVS) was a term coined by Jennett and Plum (1972) in an attempt to bring some order to the inconsistent clinical description of patients who were unconscious but who had emerged from coma, demonstrated by eye opening and the presence of a discernable wakeful state. Jennett and Plum stated that the term was not meant to imply irreversibility, but the...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationIndiana University School of MedicineIndianapolisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationIndiana UniversityIndianapolisUSA