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Author Topic: Why can coma patients recall conversations conducted at the bedside?  (Read 1824 times)

Offline thedoc

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bert  asked the Naked Scientists:
My wife was kept asleep after brain surgery. I was called in to kings up in camberwell and given instructions of what to do and say when they woke her after 3 weeks. A year later she recounted word for word my conversation with the doctors and what i had to say and do.

I fall asleep listening to your pod casts: why can i not recall them after i have dozed.

thanks love the shows

Bert hunt.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 14/06/2012 14:30:01 by _system »


Offline Atomic-S

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Offline Lmnre

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I'm no expert, but

Anesthesia awareness ... can also occur in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) or in the intensive-care unit (ICU), where patients are kept sedated, tranquilized and sometimes paralyzed ... awaiting normalization of their physiology.

Anesthesia awareness, or unintended intra-operative awareness occurs during general anesthesia, on the operating table, when the patient has not been given enough of the general anesthetic or analgesic to render the patient unconscious during general anesthesia (often when agents used to paralyze the patient have been administered). In brief, it is the post-operative recall of intra-operative events.

However, it can also occur in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) or in the intensive-care unit (ICU), where patients are kept sedated, tranquilized and sometimes paralyzed (and intubated) and are connected to life support systems, awaiting normalization of their physiology.

General anaesthesia has many purposes including:
  • Analgesia loss of response to pain,
    Amnesia loss of memory,
    Immobility loss of motor reflexes,
    Hypnosis loss of consciousness,
    Skeletal muscle relaxation.

My understanding is that many anesthetics now consist of two components: one to cause analgesia, amnesia and hypnosis, and another to cause immobility and muscular relaxation. For the moment that she remembers, it seems they did not use enough of one to keep her unconsciousness, but enough the other to keep her immobile and relaxed. So, it sounds like she was only paralyzed at that moment. They may have switched over from an anesthetic used in surgery to an anesthetic used in recovery, and a gap occurred.

Is this all she can recall, or was she also conscious during the surgery and/or at other times during her three-week recovery?
« Last Edit: 24/06/2012 04:40:48 by Lmnre »

Offline annie123

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I have just read The Undead  by Dick Teresi which has a section on comas. This book covers all kinds of situations where someone is thought to be unaware of the world around them - brain dead? just dead? in a coma?  etc. and gives an account of relevant research. It should be read by anyone who is thinking of donating heir organs at 'death'. Discover magazine (May 2012) has an article about the book which is why i went on to read the book  (apart from my own fear for many years that i could be buried alive.)

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