Scientific publications

Acute management of acquired brain injury Part III: an evidence-based review of interventions used to promote arousal from coma

Meyer MJ, Megyesi J, Meythaler J, Murie-Fernandez M, Aubut JA, Foley N, Salter K, Bayley M, Marshall S, Teasell R.
Aging, Rehabilitation and Geriatric Care Program, Lawson Health Research Institute, London, Ontario, Canada

Magazine: Brain Injury

Date: Jun 1, 2010

Neurology [SP]

PRIMARY OBJECTIVES
To review the literature regarding techniques used to promote arousal from coma following an acquired brain injury.

MAIN OUTCOMES
A literature search of multiple databases (CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE and PsycINFO) and hand searched articles covering the years 1980-2008 was performed. Peer reviewed articles were assessed for methodological quality using the PEDro scoring system for randomized controlled trials and the Downs and Black tool for RCTs and non-randomized trials. Levels of evidence were assigned and recommendations were made.

RESULTS
Research into coma arousal has generally focused on the stimulation of neural pathways responsible for arousal. These pathways have been targeted using pharmacological and non-pharmacological techniques. This review reports the evidence surrounding agents targeting dopamine pathways (amantadine, bromocriptine and levodopa), sensory stimulation, music therapy and median nerve electrical stimulation. Each of these interventions has shown some degree of benefit in improving consciousness, but further research is necessary.

CONCLUSIONS
Despite numerous studies, strong evidence was only found for one intervention (Amantadine use in children) and this was based on a single study. However, each of the interventions showed promise in some aspect of arousal and warrant further study. More methodologically rigorous study is needed before any definitive conclusions can be drawn.

CITATION  Brain Inj. 2010;24(5):722-9

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