Functional and structural damage in postanoxic persistent vegetative state (PVS) was analysed using 18fluorodeoxyglucose PET (FDG-PET) coregistered to 3-D MRI in combination with morphometric 3-D MRI analysis (voxel-based morphometry, VBM). In five patients in late stages of non-traumatic PVS, combined analysis using statistical parametric mapping (SPM2) was performed to compare metabolic impairment and structural loss. FDG-PET showed widespread hypometabolism at p<0.001 (corrected) in the parietal, parietooccipital and frontotemporal cortices, cingulum, frontal medial and precentral gyrus, and within the bilateral thalamus. VBM revealed multilocal structural loss at p<0.001 (corrected) in the inferior parietal and superior/medial frontal cortices, insula and operculum, superior and medial temporal lobes, cingulum and fusiform gyrus, caudate, midbrain, dorsal pons, and the cerebellum, but to a lesser extent in the thalamus. The selective vulnerability of the brain in a sample of PVS patients could be mapped in vivo, indicating that a complex structural and functional lesion pattern of the cerebral networks seems to be associated with this condition.