A "neuro yawn" ?


I'm new to critical care and work in the cardiac ICU. My patient the other night was a vented elderly man showing minimal response. Pos gag/cough, neg babinksi, intermittent corneal's and response to pain; PERRLA; no response to voice. He recently started yawning occasionally, and when another nurse saw that she said, "well that's not good." I asked her what she meant, and she said that it was a "neuro yawn." She said she didn't know much, only that it meant that it was a bad sign, like it's another basic reflex that only shows up when a patient is or is nearly brain dead. Anyone able to explain this "neuro yawn" ?

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 9 years experience.

I read the thread before posting. Seems like no one was quite sure there.


145 Posts

Specializes in M/S, pedi. Has 17 years experience.

Had a pt recently who may have had a stroke at home and was not caught (baseline sluggish, prev strokes)until Neuro saw her and she was yawning and the MD said excessive yawning can be a sign in the nonverbal pts.

Specializes in pediatric neurology and neurosurgery. Has 11 years experience.

Yes, I've seen it in the final days of life in cases of brain herniation.

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Specializes in Critical Care. Has 9 years experience.

thank you everybody! :)

Lev, MSN, RN, NP

8 Articles; 2,803 Posts

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner. Has 10 years experience.

My patient who got narcan from a methadone overdose the other day woke up yawning a lot and then she began shivering (withdrawing).