Somatosensory evoked potentials, blink reflexes, and H wave reflexes, were recorded on several days from three patients with alpha pattern coma. Coma was secondary to cardiac arrest in two cases and to brainstem infarction in one. Results are compatible with damage to the brainstem reticular formation with sparing of thalamo-cortical circuits as the main physiopathological characteristic of alpha pattern coma. This condition should not be regarded as a discrete entity when establishing the prognosis of patients in coma, since they only differ from other patients in coma from the point view of the EEG record.
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