Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Cause of persistent vegetative state

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 1 Replies
  • Posted By: melsner
  • December 13, 2006
  • 06:28 AM

Approximately six weeks ago, my 43 year old sister was admitted to the hospital due to severe nauseau, inability to keep food down, dehydration, etc. The diagnosis was "sludge" in her Gall Bladder and removal was scheduled for two days later. Laproscopic surgery was performed to remove the GB, which went well. The next day she seemed to be recovering fine, but by the following day she started a downward slide into delirium and then into catatonia. Two weeks after surgery, she was in a vegetative state. Doctors at the hospital could not determine the cause, and she was eventually transferred into a hospital in NYC. No one has been able to define the cause or do anything more than provide supportive treatment.

Initial bloodwork at intake showed low sodium and potassium levels, which were eventually stabilized around the beginning of the delirium but after surgery. All other blood tests were normal. She suffers from severe fibromyalgia/CFIDS, and her symptoms were per normal in the hospital. Several brain MRIs have shown no damage, but there is a slight "abnormality" in the center of her brian near the pituatary gland. EEG shows generally depressed levels of activity, but nothing specific.

Due to prolonged inactivity from CFIDS, she was given heparin to break up indicated blood clots, and she was given ativan soon after the vegetative state began (with no impact). Other than that, she has been given antibiotics to deal with infections of the lungs (she aspirated a little soon after entering delirium) and GI tract, as well as thyroid meds to treat hypothyroidism. Fever was persistent but low and has since mostly subsided.

Doctors still cannot determine why she is in a PVS. Hypothesis have ranged from an undetected hypoxic episode, to chronic thiamine deficiency at intake, to her simply being "too sick" from CFIDS/GI troubles to tolerate surgery.

We welcome any/all suggestions, comments, etc. We are desperate to find a cause for this, and any possible treatment recommendations. Frankly, we don't even know where to begin, as both hospitals have said they just don't know what caused this. We just want to find some answers and hopefully find a way to bring her out of the PVS and rejoin the world.

Thanks in advance for your help.


Reply Flag this Discussion

1 Replies:

  • I would bank on hypoxic episode.... it has to be neuro if they have weaned the sedation, and the mri is clear so probably hypoxia.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • December 21, 2006
    • 08:36 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
Thanks! A moderator will review your post and it will be live within the next 24 hours.

Signs of a Psoriasis Flare

Know the five types of psoriasis and how to spot flares.

How Diabetes Medications Affect Your Appetite

Newer diabetes treatments can suppress appetite and aid weight loss.

What to Do For Dry Mouth

Try these tips to get your salivary glands back into action.

The Painkiller – Constipation Connection

Constipation is a common side effect of opioid and narcotic pain medicines.

9 Signs of Sensitive Skin

Is it sensitive skin or something else?