persistent vegetative state

persistent vegetative state
(PVS)
the condition of living like a vegetable, without consciousness or the ability to initiate voluntary action, as a result of brain damage. People in the vegetative state may sometimes give the appearance of being awake and conscious, with open eyes. They may make random movements of the limbs or head and may pick or rub with the fingers, but there is no response to any form of communication and no reason to suppose that there is any awareness of the environment.
The vegetative state must be distinguished from apparently similar conditions, such as the psychiatric state of catatonia, in which consciousness is retained and from which full recovery is possible, and the locked-in syndrome, resulting from damage to the brainstem, in which the patient is conscious but unable to speak or make any movement of any part of the body, except for blinking and upward eye movements, which permit signalling.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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