Persistent vegetative state and dementia


Author : Jaul, E.


Source : Internatianal Psychageriatrics, 00:0, 1-8


Date : 01/01/2007


Authors: Jaul E, Calderon CM. Abstract: Background: Very few studies have approached the issue of persistent vegetative state (PVS) within the elderly population. This study aims to assess the prevalence, determinants and prognosis of elderly patients with PVS admitted to a long-term geriatric facility. Methods: We conducted a cohort study in the setting of a Skilled Geriatric Nursing Department. All patients admitted during a 17-month period (N = 88) were included and tested for a diagnosis of PVS according to the Disability Rating Scale (DRS). Results: A clinical diagnosis ofPVS was givento 15% ofpatients upon admission, whereas the DRS diagnosed 30.5% of patients as having PVS. During the study period, 12 out of 31 patients with PVS died, with a median survival of 127 days (range: 1-517 days). Conclusion: Our study suggests that PVS is an advanced stage in the natural history of dementia in the elderly. The low proportion of patients with PVS recognized as having this disorder upon admission suggests a low awareness among hospital personnel. Further studies of the prevalence and determinants of PVS in the severely disabled elderly population