Coma - Induced

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Induced Coma

There are times when a patient has brain injury or inflammation, and part of the treatment plan is to decrease intracranial pressure and rest the brain. Barbiturate medications such as Pentothal and pentobarbital can be injected similar to providing a general anesthetic. These medications can decrease the metabolic rate. Another effect is to constrict or narrow blood vessels and hopefully decreasing the volume of blood in the skull thereby decreasing pressure within it.

This technique is often used in patients with head trauma, ruptured aneurysms, and stroke. Recently, induced coma has been used as part of the Wisconsin protocol to treat rabies, an infection that invades and damages the brain. By resting the brain until the rabies virus can be cleared from the body, there is some hope that recovery is possible for rabies victims.

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