Regaining consciousness for prolonged comatose patients with right median nerve stimulation

  • Jung-Tung LiuEmail author
  • C. H. Wang
  • I. C. Chou
  • S. S. Sun
  • C. H. Koa
  • E. Cooper
Conference paper
Part of the Acta Neurochirurgica Supplements book series (NEUROCHIRURGICA, volume 87)


During the past half year, we have utilized right median nerve stimulation (produced by Empi. Co. USA) to awaken consciousness of patients on 6 cases, 2 with brain trauma, one with aneurysm rupture, one with hemorrhagic stroke and two with hypoxic encephalopathy. The comatose duration ranged from 6 to 17 weeks. All patients underwent SPECT scan for cerebral perfusion evaluation and neurotransmitter quantification before and after the stimulation. The stimulation time lasted from 8 to 10 hours on daytime.

The stimulation persisted for 3 months in all patients. Four patients recovered from the consciousness within 35 days. There was no obvious clinical improvement in two patients. Brain perfusion increased in all cases through the SPECT study after stimulation. The elevation of neurotransmitter in CSF was found in 5 out of the 6 cases.

Median nerve stimulation elevates the cerebral blood flow and may influence the patient’s consciousness. Young patients (<40 years old) had better results than old patients. The stimulation could be initiated if the patient’s acute stage was over. In our series, although increase in cerebral blood flow was found in all cases, some patients did not regain consciousness.


Median nerve stimulation prolonged comatose patient cerebral blood flow SPECT scan 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jung-Tung Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  • C. H. Wang
    • 1
  • I. C. Chou
    • 1
  • S. S. Sun
    • 2
  • C. H. Koa
    • 2
  • E. Cooper
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryChina Medical College HospitalTaichungTaiwan ROC
  2. 2.Department of NucleomedicineChina Medical College HospitalTaichungTaiwan ROC
  3. 3.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationEast Carolina UniversityGreenvilleUSA

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