Article Text


Physiologic and prognostic significance of "alpha coma".
  1. V J Iragui,
  2. C B McCutchen


    A patient with posthypoxic "alpha coma" is described whose EEGs were recorded before coma, within two hours following the onset of coma and after recovery. The differences observed between the alpha activity during coma and that seen before and after suggest that the alpha activity during coma and the physiologic alpha rhythm are different phenomena. This case, as well as others reported, also suggests that "alpha coma" resolving in the first 24 hours following hypoxia may have a better prognosis than "alpha coma" detected after the first day, and stresses the need for EEG monitoring begun in the immediate period following hypoxia in order to assess accurately the prognostic significance of this EEG pattern in the early stages of postanoxic encephalopathy. The aetiology of "alpha coma" also affects outcome. The survival rate appears higher in patients with respiratory arrest than in those with combined cardiopulmonary arrest.

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