Differences between coma, vegetated stage, & brain dead. . .

  1. hello, this is my first post here, and i have to say i love allnurses/central:heartbeat, i've learned many things that i didn't even know.
    i'm not in nursing school yet, but will be soon, there's a situation with a co-worker that has bogged my interest and need to know the difference when a pt is in a coma, a vegetated stage, and is brain dead. is there any hope for a positive outcome when a pt is brain dead? (just to clarify since i know once bd=dead)

    thank y'all in advanced for answering my questions:d
  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   GCS15
    A person is considered "in a coma" when his or her GCS is 8 or lower. The way PVS (persistent vegetative state) was explained to me is that a person is considered to be in a PVS when his or her GCS is less than 8 for 3 months or more. Brain death = GCS 3 with: absence of cerebral blood flow (via CBF scan), no primitive reflexes (corneal, gag, cough), flat EEG, negative cold calorics exam, etc. In Texas, where I practice, a person is legally dead when he or she is pronounced brain dead. Hope this helps.
  4. by   Chapis
    what's gcs?
  5. by   yetanotheramanda