persistent vegetative state

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Acronyms, Wikipedia.
Related to persistent vegetative state: Minimally conscious state


, in medicine

coma, in medicine, deep state of unconsciousness from which a person cannot be aroused even by painful stimuli. The patient cannot speak and does not respond to command. Coma is the result of damage to the brain stem and cerebrum that may be caused by severe head or brain injury, cardiac arrest, stroke, diabetes, drug overdose, shock, or hemorrhage. It occurs just before death in many diseases. There are various depths of coma; the nature of the injury determines the level of supportive treatment necessary (see artificial life support). Survival and prognosis depend upon the cause, extent of damage, and duration of the coma.

The term persistent vegetative state was coined in 1972 to describe an unconscious state in which sleep and wake cycles remain and eyes may open, but there is no thinking, feeling, or awareness of one's surroundings (although one may react reflexive to certain stimulations). The brain stem is usually relatively intact but the cerebral cortex is severely impaired. It is this state that sometimes results from resuscitation and life support of people who otherwise would have died; partial emergence from such a state sometimes occurs with a year or two, but not after that.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2022, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

persistent vegetative state

Med an irreversible condition, resulting from brain damage, characterized by lack of consciousness, thought, and feeling, although reflex activities (such as breathing) continue
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Persistent Vegetative State is defined after 4 weeks spent in VS.
The woman - who can be referred to only as M - is not in a persistent vegetative state, but her family had called for her life-supporting treatment to be removed.
An extensive bibliography lists journal articles and books in many categories: publications of government commissions and professional societies; the law, policy, history, and ethical debates on the neurological standard for death; withholding and withdrawing life support and persistent vegetative state; and the dead donor rule.
He died in January 2004 in a London hospital after spending nine months in a persistent vegetative state.
THE current debate on the issue of assisted suicide needs to be addressed, together with that of the withdrawal of treatment from patients in a persistent vegetative state (PVS).
It's currently being tested for other conditions in which medication may fail, including depression, Tourette's syndrome, epilepsy, pain and persistent vegetative state. It's a science still in the making and is well-described here.--Nathan Seppa
Englaro, 38, was seriously injured in a car accident in January 1992 and had been in a persistent vegetative state since then.
Eluana Englaro, who is in a persistent vegetative state, was moved from a Catholic clinic to a private hospital inUdine on Monday night, said her family's lawyer.
Is providing artificial nutrition and hydration to those in a persistent vegetative state a moral responsibility or a prolongation of suffering?
"Patients in a persistent vegetative state, while making up a very small percent of all patients, pose some of the most challenging and heart-wrenching situations for families and caregivers," she added.
Teenagers Kieron Hennessy and Shane Wright were jailed for just three years despite leaving Paul Machin in a persistent vegetative state with their vicious and unprovoked attack.
Schiavo had been in a "persistent vegetative state" for years following a stroke, and though her family insisted she responded to their presence, court-appointed doctors claimed otherwise.

Full browser ?