Other Treatments for Coma

It may be necessary to prescribe seizure medications to treat coma. If the coma is caused by an infection, antibiotics will be prescribed.

Most comatose patients are not able to breathe on their own and need to be put on a respirator. Some patients also need cardiovascular support, hydration, and some form of nutrition.

Sometimes physical therapy is used to prevent skeletal or muscular deformities that may develop in people who come out of a coma.

Treatment of Long-term Coma and Persistent Vegetative State

Some people do not immediately come out of coma despite having been treated for the suspected underlying cause. In such cases, treatment focuses on preventing infections such as pneumonia, maintaining the patient's physical state (preventing bed sores, for example), and providing adequate nutrition. This is true for people in persistent vegetative state as well, for whom pneumonia is the most common cause of death.

Prognosis for Coma Patients

The prognosis, whether or not a person will come out of coma, depends on what causes the coma. If the condition is caused by reversible metabolic processes and is treated rapidly, patients tend to recover very well. If coma is caused by massive bleeding in the brain or large brain tumors, however, most patients do not recover.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Jan 2000

Last Modified: 08 Sep 2015