What is locked-in syndrome?

Brain Injuries,Our Blog | July 4, 2018

After some forms of brain injuries, there is a risk of locked-in syndrome (LIS). This syndrome is one that is not well understood, and it is very rare. However, people do suffer from it and should have a right to be cared for despite their inability to communicate in traditional ways.

Families who have a loved one with LIS may never be sure if or when the individual will recover. Here is a little more about this rare and devastating result of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or other brain injury.

What causes locked-in syndrome?

Locked-in syndrome can be caused by many things including strokes, TBI, medication overdoses and other events. The disease, injury or overdose injures the pons, an area of the brain. When that happens, the person loses voluntary muscle control. The person can still breathe, and many have the ability to communicate by blinking or moving the eyes.

What happens to a person who is locked in?

The condition is called locked-in syndrome because a person is locked into his or her own body. People with the condition can think and reason just as they could before an injury. Sadly, they are unable to speak or move, making the condition devastating. Many patients do not recover from this state, but in some cases, they may improve.

Progress is slow, though, when it does occur. Often, patients recover bit by bit, being able to manage swallowing or to perform slight movements. In extremely rare cases, patients recover completely.

If your loved one is locked-in as a result of a TBI, he or she deserves the best care and treatment available. If the condition resulted from an event like a car crash that was someone else’s fault, it’s wise to explore your legal options with a brain injury lawyer in Sacramento.