Minimally conscious state (MCS) is a neurological disorder characterized by a diminished level of consciousness without loss of the ability to sustain vital functions. It is caused by severe brain trauma, encephalitis, anoxic brain injury, stroke, and other conditions that result in brain damage.
Diagnosis of MCS is based on a detailed neurological examination and a review of medical records. The patient must demonstrate a consistent response to commands, reactions to stimuli, and/or verbal or nonverbal communication.
Differentiating MCS from a persistent vegetative state or other neurological disorders is necessary for an accurate diagnosis. The patient must demonstrate a consistent response to commands or stimuli, and other neurological disorders may need to be ruled out.
Treatment of MCS is largely supportive, and may include physical and occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, and psychological support. Medications may be used to reduce agitation or improve communication.
The prognosis for MCS is variable and depends on the severity of the underlying condition. Some patients may gradually improve, while others may remain in a minimally conscious state.