A "neuro yawn" ?

  1. 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" ?
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    About BeatsPerMinute, BSN, RN

    Joined: Jul '14; Posts: 108; Likes: 168


  3. by   Lev <3
    This might help...

    Neuro Yawn
  4. by   BeatsPerMinute
    I read the thread before posting. Seems like no one was quite sure there.
  5. by   realnursealso/LPN
    Pathological yawning as a presenting symptom of brain stem ischaemia in two patients
    I was interested in the term you used, so I googled it. This article speaks of what you asked about. Apparently there is a relationship shown between yawning and brain injury. Hope this is informative for you, if not google it again. Happy New Year!
  6. by   LynM75
    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.
  7. by   Surprised1
    Yes, I've seen it in the final days of life in cases of brain herniation.

    Sent from my iPhone using allnurses
  8. by   SassyTachyRN
    Abnormal yawning in stroke patients: the role of brain thermoregulation

    That article suggests maybe it's a way of cooling the brain to preserve it. I was always told it's a sign of brain ischemia/herniation.
  9. by   BeatsPerMinute
    thank you everybody!
  10. by   Lev <3
    My patient who got narcan from a methadone overdose the other day woke up yawning a lot and then she began shivering (withdrawing).