Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter


Coma is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Pediatric Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Pediatrics Central™ is an all-in-one application that puts valuable medical information, via your mobile device or the web, in the hands of clinicians treating infants, children, and adolescents. Explore these free sample topics:

Pediatrics Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



Coma is defined as a state in which the patient appears to be asleep, shows no awareness of his or her surroundings, and cannot be aroused. Coma frequently is only a transient state, whereby patients recover, die, or progress to a permanent state of impairment. Often a medical emergency, immediate intervention may be required to preserve life and brain function.

  • Coma is at the far end of a spectrum of acute impaired consciousness, which also includes the following:
    • Lethargy or stupor: patient arousable but does not stay awake; impaired responses to commands
    • Delirium: a confused, agitated or hypoactive patient with fragmented attention, concentration, and memory
  • Coma may progress to
    • Persistent vegetative state: chronic state of unconsciousness with no awareness or cognition, no voluntary responses, and no language abilities; preserved autonomic functions and sleep–wake cycles
    • Brain death: lack of cortical and brainstem responses


Incidence varies by age, season (infection), and ethnicity (inborn errors of metabolism [IEM]).


Dysfunction of the reticular activating system in the brainstem or bilateral cerebral dysfunction causes impaired arousal and consciousness.


Coma etiology can be traumatic or nontraumatic. Infection is a common cause of nontraumatic coma.

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --


Cabana, Michael D., editor. "Coma." 5-Minute Pediatric Consult, 8th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. Pediatrics Central, peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/617759/all/Coma.
Coma. In: Cabana MD, ed. 5-Minute Pediatric Consult. 8th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/617759/all/Coma. Accessed April 19, 2019.
Coma. (2019). In Cabana, M. D. (Ed.), 5-Minute Pediatric Consult. Available from https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/617759/all/Coma
Coma [Internet]. In: Cabana MD, editors. 5-Minute Pediatric Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 April 19]. Available from: https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/617759/all/Coma.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Coma ID - 617759 ED - Cabana,Michael D, BT - 5-Minute Pediatric Consult UR - https://peds.unboundmedicine.com/pedscentral/view/5-Minute-Pediatric-Consult/617759/all/Coma PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 8 DB - Pediatrics Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -