An Italian population study on 600 persons in vegetative state and minimally conscious state

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Objective: To describes socio-demographic and clinical features of adults and children in vegetative state (VS) and minimally conscious state (MCS). Design: Observational cross-sectional study. Methods: Demographic, aetiological and clinical data were collected, together with patients' management procedures. Mann-Whitney U-test was used for continuous variables and chi-squared test for categorical variables. Results: Six hundred patients (69.7% in VS; 6% children) were enrolled. No difference regarding age at enrolment, age at acute event and disease duration was observed between VS and MCS. Disease duration was superior to 10 years for 3.3% of the whole sample and 64.3-77% of cases had a non-traumatic aetiology. Mean number of drugs per adult patient was four and decreased consistently with increased disease duration. Discussion: Patients with VS and MCS were similar for age at acute event and at enrolment, both over 50 years, as well as for the frequency of non-traumatic aetiology. Disease duration was similar for both conditions and 2.6% of VS and 4.8% of MCS patients survived for more than 10 years. Finally care and treatment needs are similar and not related to diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-484
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Anatomical therapeutic chemical classification system
  • Children
  • Minimally conscious state
  • Pain
  • Vegetative state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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