Clinical correlates and prognosis in early spindle coma

Peter W. Kaplan, Didier Genoud, Tony W. Ho, Pierre Jallon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the prognostic significance of spindle coma (SC) according to etiology and EEG reactivity. Methods: We reviewed 15 patients with SC due to various causes within 8 days of coma to determine the prognostic significance of this EEG pattern. Results: The outcome among survivors was favorable: among 13 survivors, 9 were independent in all activities of daily living (ADLs) at 6 months; 3 were dependent in all ADLs; and one remained in coma. EEG reactivity to noxious stimuli best predicted outcome: All patients (whatever the coma etiology) with EEG reactivity survived; conversely, not all patients without EEG reactivity died. Conclusion: In our patients, EEG reactivity independent of etiology predicted survival, neurological examination did not predict outcome. Most SC survivors had a meaningful recovery achieving all ADLs. From the literature, the cause of SC was predictive of outcome: encephalopathy, seizures and trauma had the best prognosis while hypoxia, CRA and structural lesions carried the worst. Literature review revealed that 23% of patients [56/242] died or remained in a persistent vegetative state (PVS). Best outcomes occurred when SC was due to drugs, encephalopathy or seizures: (0/14 died or were in a PVS). With trauma 15% [25/169] died or were in a PVS). Intermediate outcomes occurred with hypoxia and cardio-respiratory arrest (CRA): 33% [7/21] died or were in a PVS. The gravest outcomes occurred with brain-stem and cerebral infarctions, and tumors: 73% [22/30] died or were in a PVS. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)584-590
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Neurophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2000


  • Cardiac arrest
  • Drugs
  • EEG
  • Etiology
  • Prognosis
  • Spindle coma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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