Pain assessment with the revised nociception coma scale and outcomes of patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome: results from a pilot study
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The aim of this study was to evaluate whether standardized responses to nociceptive pain, assessed with the revised Nociception Coma Scale (NCS-R), were correlated with the outcomes of patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS) 6 months after admission to a rehabilitation department. We recruited 24 consecutive patients with UWS. Patients’ consciousness levels were assessed with the revised Coma Recovery Scale (CRS-R) at admission and 6 months later, and their CRS-R scores were correlated with the NCS-R scores at admission. Ten of the 24 patients with UWS recovered consciousness after 6 months. The NCS-R score at admission was correlated with the CRS-R score at admission (P = 0.02), but not after 6 months (P = 0.6). Patients with and without consciousness improvement after 6 months showed no significant difference in the NCS-R total score and sub-scores at admission (P values > 0.05). In conclusion, the correlation between NCS-R and CRS-R scores at admission suggests that the standardized assessment of pain parallels patients’ levels of consciousness, and may be helpful in the clinical evaluation of patients with UWS. Pain response assessed with the NCS-R was not related to the 6-month outcomes of patients with UWS.
KeywordsComa Recovery Scale revised Disorders of consciousness NCS-R Prognosis Vegetative state
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The study abided by the Declaration of Helsinki and was approved by our Regional Ethical Review Board (Palermo 1 Ethical Committee, Palermo, Italy). Patients’ legal guardians gave their written informed consent for all procedures.
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