Emergency Neurological Life Support: Approach to the Patient with Coma
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- Huff, J.S., Stevens, R.D., Weingart, S.D. et al. Neurocrit Care (2012) 17: 54. doi:10.1007/s12028-012-9755-4
Coma is an acute failure of neuronal systems governing arousal and awareness and represents a neurological emergency. When encountering a comatose patient, the clinician must have an organized approach to detect easily remedial causes, prevent ongoing neurologic injury, and determine a hierarchy of diagnostic tests, treatments, and neuromonitoring. Coma was chosen as an Emergency Neurological Life Support (ENLS) protocol because timely medical and surgical interventions can be life-saving, and the initial work-up of such patients is critical to establishing a correct diagnosis.