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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: Recovery from a coma after a stroke

 Dimitri - Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:56 am

To Whom It May Concern

A loved one was found unconscious 3 hours after falling asleep. He (a healthy, fit, energetic 39 yrs of age--always had problems with high blood pressure) was taken to hospital and treated for what the doctor called a viral infection. After 8 days he was taken to another hospital for a second opinion. The doctors confirmed that he had suffered an ischemic stroke. They administered drugs to clear the blockage, after imaging the brain. After a few days he was sent home, where he is being cared for daily by professionals as well as immediate family. He's been in a coma for over a month and a half. My question is, what are his chances of recovery? How long will he stay in a coma for? Thank you for your time.

 John Kenyon, CNA - Mon Dec 08, 2008 10:46 pm

User avatar Hello Dmitri -

While this is a rare and terrible event, there is always a potential for partial or even complete recovery. I have no idea what the statistics are on this, mainly because so much depends upon the location of the stroke and the extent of damage. However, while there may be statistical averages regarding duration of coma, this is one of the most poorly understood medical phenomena and it is nearly impossible to predict how long, if ever, it will take a given patient to wake up from a coma. The literature is full of such random and contradictory events and outcomes that it isn't very helpful to consult it.

I would be remiss were I to try and quantify the statistical chances of recovery, the degree of recovery, etc., based only on what are statistical averages. The best I would offer is that so long as the young man is otherwise healthy, there is a chance, a hope, that he will not only wake up, but that he may recover to whatever extent is possible based upon the determined extent of damage. I'd add, also, that there is not necessarily any correlation between coma (of any duration, long or short) and the extent of damage or how well a patient might recover once out of the comatose state. It would be useful to know the location of the injury in the brain and the severity of it, but this often bears no relation to the problem of coma itself.

I hope this is useful if not especially helpful. I also hope the young man in question will wake up soon and recover fully. My best to you and all this man's concerned friends and family.

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