Clinical neurophysiology of altered states of consciousness: Encephalopathy and coma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The neurophysiologist will commonly encounter patients with encephalopathy/delirium (altered consciousness with impaired cognition, usually with sleep–wake cycle alteration and lethargy) or coma (an eyes-closed state of unresponsiveness) in the hospital setting. Assessing the background frequency of the EEG, as well as the presence or absence of other features (reactivity, periodic discharges such as triphasic waves), can provide insight into the patient's underlying condition and in some cases may provide prognostic information. The literature of postanoxic arrest EEG patterns continues to expand. Other neurophysiologic tests, such as somatosensory evoked potentials, auditory mismatch negativity, and even EMG, may also play a role in assessing brain function; distinguishing among a locked-in state, minimally conscious state, persistent vegetative state, and waking/unresponsive states; and assessing the potential for recovery after brain injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Clinical Neurology
PublisherElsevier B.V.
Number of pages16
StatePublished - 2019

Publication series

NameHandbook of Clinical Neurology
ISSN (Print)0072-9752
ISSN (Electronic)2212-4152


  • Coma
  • Delirium
  • EEG
  • Encephalopathy
  • SSEPs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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