Another COVID-19 Medical Mystery: Patients, Post-Ventilator, Who Don’t Wake Up

July 24, 2020
By Martha Bebinger

“In our experience, approximately every fifth patient that was hospitalized was admitted to the ICU and had some degree of disorders of consciousness,” said Dr. Jan Claassen, the director of neurocritical care at New York’s Columbia University Medical Center. “But how many of those actually took a long time to wake up, we don’t have numbers on that yet.”

To try to get a handle on this problem at Columbia, Claassen and colleagues created a coma board that continues to meet weekly. Claasen says he’s guardedly optimistic about the prospects for recovery in some of these patients. A study he published in 2019 found that 15% of unresponsive patients showed brain activity after verbal commands. [read more]

Also covered by: NPR