Bobbi Brown’s Medically Induced Coma May Limit Brain Injury

MANHASSET, NY – Putting Bobbi Kristina Brown in a medically induced coma may limit brain injury, says a New York neurocritical care expert.

The 21-year-old daughter of singers Bobby Brown and the late Whitney Houston was placed in a medically induced coma on Jan. 31 after she was found unresponsive – meaning without breathing or a heart beat – in a bathtub in her Atlanta home.

“Lack of oxygen to the brain can cause the brain to swell,” said Richard Temes, MD, director of Neurocritical Care at North Shore University Hospital.

“Essentially, what the sedation medication will do is put the brain to sleep in an effort to control the swelling and reduce the energy consumption of the brain.”

Like Brown, patients in induced comas are placed on ventilators to breathe for them, given medications to maintain blood pressure and hooked up to an EEG to monitor brain waves. Typically, patients remain in such a state for a few days, but it may last for weeks depending on the patient’s condition.

Patients who are placed in medically induced comas are at high risk of brain injury, either from physical trauma, a drug overdose, or a medical condition such as a catastrophic stroke, said Dr. Temes.

For now, it’s too soon to know if Brown has suffered any brain damage.

“You won’t know what the neurological status of a patient is until that pharmacological coma is stopped,” said Dr Temes. “But, one of the big predictors of how patients are going to do is age, and obviously the younger you are the better prognosis you have.”

 

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