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.
- 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.