Neurocritical Care

, Volume 23, Supplement 2, pp 69–75 | Cite as

Emergency Neurological Life Support: Approach to the Patient with Coma

  • Robert D. StevensEmail author
  • Rhonda S. Cadena
  • Jose Pineda
Review Article


Coma is an acute failure of neuronal systems governing arousal and awareness and represents a medical emergency. When encountering a comatose patient, the clinician must have an organized approach to detect easily remediable causes, prevent ongoing neurologic injury, and determine a hierarchical plan for diagnostic tests, treatments, and neuromonitoring. Coma was chosen as an Emergency Neurological Life Support 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.


Coma Consciousness Critical care Neurocritical care 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert D. Stevens
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rhonda S. Cadena
    • 2
  • Jose Pineda
    • 3
  1. 1.Departments of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine; Neurology; Neurosurgery; and RadiologyJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Emergency MedicineUniversity of North Carolina School of MedicineChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of Pediatrics, Division of Critical Care MedicineWashington University School of MedicineSt. LouisUSA

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