Sunday, 13 January 2013

Describe some difference between “persistent vegetative state” and “brain death”

Persistent vegetative state: A wakeful unconscious state that lasts longer than a few weeks.
Brain death: Irreversible brain damage causing the of independent respiration, regarded as indicative of death.

Persistent vegetative state
  • Has damage to areas of the brain responsible for consciousness, self-awareness, personality, head injury and oxygen deprivation.
  • If coma lasts for more than a month or so, it is known as a persistent vegetative state.
  • Brain loses higher functions, but can still maintain involuntary functions such as breathing and swallowing, heart rate and blood pressure. 
  • The patient would require artificial feeding.
  • Given adequate treatment the patient can survive for years and may recover towards the minimally conscious state or can gain complete recovery.
Brain death
  • Not in coma. 
  • The irreversible loss of brain function. 
  • The patient is unconscious but still considered legally alive.
  • They often still have a heartbeat, they breathe with the help of a ventilator.

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