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Brain Inj. 2007 Jan;21(1):101-3.

An unexpected recovery from permanent vegetative state.

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  • 1Istituto San Raffaele-Tosinvest Sanità. Post-Coma Intensive and Rehabilitation Care Unit, Cassino.



To challenge the Multi-Society Task Force's ruling that a persistent vegetative state (PVS) can be judged to be permanent for non traumatic brain injury after three months.


We report the case of a 44-year-old man who had recovery of consciousness with persistent severe disability 19 months after a non-traumatic brain injury at least in part triggered and maintained by intrathecal baclofen administration.


This unexpected and late recovery of consciousness raises an interesting hypothesis of possible effects of partially regained spinal cord outputs on reactivation of cognition.


Considering that several ethical, legal, and socio-economic issues have been raised about the opportunity of withdrawing treatment and life support in patients with PVS the report of this case might add further documentation to the ongoing debate.

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