The Clinical Effect of Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation on the Disturbance of Consciousness in Patients in a Vegetative State


Frontiers in Neuroscience. 15 (no pagination), 2021. Article Number: 647517. Date of Publication: 30 Apr 2021.

Zhang X.-H.; Han P.; Zeng Y.-Y.; Wang Y.-L.; Lv H.-L.

To explore the effect of combining repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and conventional rehabilitation on the recovery of consciousness in patients in a persistent vegetative state (PVS).

A total of 48 patients in a PVS were randomly divided into a treatment and control group. Patients in the treatment group were treated with rTMS to stimulate the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, and patients in the control group were treated with false stimulation. All patients were evaluated using scales and neuroelectrophysiological assessment before treatment, after 30 days of treatment, and following 60 days of treatment.

Based on the Coma Recovery Scale-Revised (CRS-R) and electroencephalogram (EEG) grading indexes, the treatment group was significantly higher than those of the control group after 30 and 60 days of treatment. The average difference in the three measurements between the two groups before treatment, at 30 days, and 60 days was 0.04, 1.54, and 2.09 for CRS-R and 0.08, -0.83, and -0.62 for EEG indexes, respectively. The latency periods of each wave of the brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEPs) in the treatment group were shorter than those in the control group after 30 and 60 days of treatment. In both groups, the BAEP scores after 30 days of treatment were significantly higher than the scores before treatment, and the scores after 60 days of treatment were higher than the scores after 30 days.

In patients in a PVS, rTMS assists in the recovery of consciousness function.