Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurotrauma. 2011 Oct;28(10):2013-7. doi: 10.1089/neu.2011.1885.

Visual pursuit: within-day variability in the severe disorder of consciousness.

Author information

S. Anna Institute and Research in Advanced Neurorehabilitation (RAN), Crotone, University of Calabria, Cosenza, Italy.


Visual pursuit marks substantial recuperation from a vegetative state and evolution into a minimally-conscious state, but its incidence in different studies suggests some unreliability in contrast with its established prognostic relevance. Subjects in vegetative (n=9) or minimally-conscious (n=13) states were tested for visual pursuit 6 times/day (9:30, 10:30, and 11:30 am, and 2:00, 3:00, and 4.00 pm, for a total of 132 determinations). Visual pursuit was observed at all testing times in 8 minimally-conscious patients, and never in 5 subjects in a vegetative state. Its incidence per subject ranged from 50-100% of testing times in the minimally-conscious state (83±23%), and 0-33% in a vegetative state (7%±12), with spontaneous fluctuations during the day and maximal levels at 10.30 am and 3.00 pm, and was never observed at the post-prandial time point (2:00 pm). The overall chance of observing visual tracking at least once during the day was ∼33% in the vegetative state, whereas that of not observing it in the minimally-conscious state was ∼38%. These percentages are congruent with the reported misdiagnosis rate between the two conditions, and document spontaneous variability possibly related to circadian rhythms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon
Loading ...
Support Center