Many types of problems can cause coma. Some examples are:
Aug. 14, 2015
- Traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries, often caused by traffic collisions or acts of violence, are common causes of comas.
- Stroke. Reduced or interrupted blood supply to the brain (stroke), which may be caused by blocked arteries or a burst blood vessel, can result in a coma.
- Tumors. Tumors in the brain or brainstem can cause a coma.
- Diabetes. In people with diabetes, blood sugar levels that become too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia) can cause a coma.
- Lack of oxygen. People who have been rescued from drowning or those who have been resuscitated after a heart attack may not awaken due to lack of oxygen to the brain.
- Infections. Infections such as encephalitis and meningitis cause swelling (inflammation) of the brain, spinal cord or the tissues that surround the brain. Severe cases of these infections can result in brain damage or a coma.
- Seizures. Ongoing seizures may lead to a coma.
- Toxins. Exposure to toxins, such as carbon monoxide or lead, can cause brain damage and a coma.
- Drugs and alcohol. Overdosing on drugs or alcohol can result in a coma.
- Overview of coma and impaired consciousness. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic-disorders/coma-and-impaired-consciousness/overview-of-coma-and-impaired-consciousness. Accessed July 15, 2015.
- Edlow JA, et al. Diagnosis of reversible causes of coma. The Lancet. 2014; 384:2064.
- Rosengart A, et al. Coma. In: Critical Care Medicine: Principles of Diagnosis and Management in the Adult. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 15, 2015.
- Young GB. Stupor and coma in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 15, 2015.
- Daroff RB, et al. Bradley’s Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com Accessed July 15, 2015.
- NINDS coma information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/coma/coma.htm. Accessed July 15, 2015.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2014. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 15, 2015.
- Rabinstein AA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 20, 2015.