Treatment for Coma
Currently, there are no medicines that will shorten the duration of coma.
Diagnosis and treatment of coma begin simultaneously.
The Glasgow coma scale is used to determine whether the patient is improving, deteriorating, or remaining the same. It is a simple way of measuring the depth of coma based upon observations of eye opening, speech and movement.
Initial emergency treatment of a comatose patient focuses on stabilizing the vitals. In some cases of severe coma, the patient may require life-saving resuscitative measures. Once the comatose patient is medically stable, it is important to diagnose and treat the underlying cause of coma.
- A detailed history from the family members and friends is very important and can help determine the exact cause of coma.
- Glucose may be administered intravenously if the blood sugar level is low.
- If the coma is suspected to be induced due to a narcotic overdose, naloxone (narcan) may be given intravenously to reverse the situation.
Currently there are no medicines that will shorten the duration of coma. In fact, some medicines actually deepen the state of unconsciousness. For a patient in prolonged coma, the treatment goal is-
- Preventing infection like pneumonia or bedsores
- Providing balanced nutrition
- Physical therapy may prevent permanent muscle contractions and bone deformities.
If doctors think the coma is not likely to reverse quickly, they may insert an endotracheal tube to aid respiration and may administer oxygen.
In the case of a coma that results from a head injury, doctors may perform surgery to drain excess fluid from the head and relieve pressure on the brain.