Risk factors for 2-year mortality in patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness: An international multicentre study

Anna Estraneo, Alfonso Magliacano, Salvatore Fiorenza, Rita Formisano, Antonello Grippo, Efthymios Angelakis, Helena Cassol, Aurore Thibaut, Olivia Gosseries, Gianfranco Lamberti, Enrique Noé, Sergio Bagnato, Brian L. Edlow, Camille Chatelle, Nicolas Lejeune, Vigneswaran Veeramuthu, Michelangelo Bartolo, Donatella Mattia, Jlenia Toppi, Nathan ZaslerCaroline Schnakers, Luigi Trojano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and purpose: Patients with prolonged disorders of consciousness (pDoC) have a high mortality rate due to medical complications. Because an accurate prognosis is essential for decision-making on patients' management, we analysed data from an international multicentre prospective cohort study to evaluate 2-year mortality rate and bedside predictors of mortality. Methods: We enrolled adult patients in prolonged vegetative state/unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (VS/UWS) or minimally conscious state (MCS) after traumatic and nontraumatic brain injury within 3 months postinjury. At enrolment, we collected demographic (age, sex), anamnestic (aetiology, time postinjury), clinical (Coma Recovery Scale–Revised [CRS-R], Disability Rating Scale, Nociception Coma Scale–Revised), and neurophysiologic (electroencephalogram [EEG], somatosensory evoked and event-related potentials) data. Patients were followed up to gather data on mortality up to 24 months postinjury. Results: Among 143 traumatic (n = 55) and nontraumatic (n = 88) patients (VS/UWS, n = 68, 19 females; MCS, n = 75, 22 females), 41 (28.7%) died within 24 months postinjury. Mortality rate was higher in VS/UWS (42.6%) than in MCS (16%; p < 0.001). Multivariate regression in VS/UWS showed that significant predictors of mortality were older age and lower CRS-R total score, whereas in MCS female sex and absence of alpha rhythm on EEG at study entry were significant predictors. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that a feasible multimodal assessment in the postacute phase can help clinicians to identify patients with pDoC at higher risk of mortality within 24 months after brain injury. This evidence can help clinicians and patients' families to navigate the complex clinical decision-making process and promote an international standardization of prognostic procedures for patients with pDoC.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Neurology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Oct 2021


  • disorders of consciousness
  • minimally conscious state
  • mortality
  • prognosis
  • vegetative state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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