The wide spectrum of consciousness disorders

Rocco Salvatore Calabrò, Angela Marra, Giuseppina Digangi, Carmela Casella, Placido Bramanti, Rosalia Silvestri

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Medically speaking, the term consciousness is the state of the patient's awareness of self and environment and his responsiveness to external stimulation and inner need. Temporary loss of consciousness may be caused by impaired cerebral perfusion (syncope, fainting), cerebral ischemia, migraine, epileptic seizures, metabolic disturbances, sudden increases in intracranial pressure, or sleep disorders. Chronic unconsciousness is a tragic and ironic failure of high-technology treatment to preserve or restore brain function, the primary aim of therapeutics. Management of a patient in a vegetative state or a minimally conscious state requires carefully reaching the correct diagnosis, pronouncing an evidence-based prognosis, and thoughtfully considering the medical, ethical, and legal elements of optimum treatment. This chapter is aimed at exploring the wide spectrum of consciousness disorders, with particular regards to those having a negative impact on quality of life of the patients and their care-givers, including epilepsy, parasomnias, coma and vegetative state.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChronic Disorders of Consciousness: From Research to Clinical Practice
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages27
ISBN (Print)9781626189409
Publication statusPublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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