What is a coma?

Someone who is in a coma is unconscious and has minimal brain activity. They're alive, butcan't be woken up and show no signs of being aware.

The person's eyes will be closed andthey'llappear to be unresponsive to their environment. They won'tnormally respond to sound or pain, or be able to communicate or move voluntarily.

Someone in a coma will also have very reduced basic reflexes such as coughing and swallowing. They may be able to breathe on their own, although some people require a machine to help them breathe.

Over time, the person may start to gradually regain consciousness and become more aware. Some people will wake up after a few weeks, while others may go into a vegetative state or minimally conscious state (see recovering from a coma ,below).

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018