[Comas in the emergency room of a central hospital]

Acta Med Port. 1992 Sep;5(8):429-32.
[Article in Portuguese]


The aim of the present prospective work was to study the etiologic diagnosis and prognosis of the comatose patients for whom a neurologic examination is requested. It included 148 consecutive cases admitted to the emergency room of a general hospital. Coma was caused by supratentorial lesions in 38%, subtentorial lesions in 10%, diffuse or metabolic brain dysfunction in 49%, and psychiatric disorder in 1% of the patients. CT scan was the most valuable ancillary exam, modifying the initial etiologic diagnosis in 42% of the cases on whom it was performed. Seventy percent of the patients died. Coma caused by structural lesions had a worse outcome than coma caused by diffuse or metabolic brain dysfunction (intoxications excluded), and this type of coma had a worse outcome than drug-induced coma. The presence of anisocoria, the number of brainstem reflexes present and the pattern of motor response, as well as the Glasgow Coma Scale score, predicted the outcome.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Coma / etiology*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies