Persistent vegetative state
persistent vegetative state
A persistent loss of upper cortical function that may follow acute (e.g., infections, toxins, trauma or vascular) events or chronic (e.g., degenerative) events. The patient is bedridden and nutritional support is completely passive, either parenteral or via nasogastric tube. The patient does not require respiratory support or circulatory assistance for survival and is in a state of chronic wakefulness without awareness which may be accompanied by spontaneous eye opening, grunts or screams, brief smiles, sporadic movement of facial muscles and limbs. While the eyes blink upon stimulation, they do not do so in response to visual threats. Some patients chew or clamp their teeth. Urinary and faecal incontinence is universal.