Sudden unresponsive patient with normal vital signs: What is going on?

Lisa Smit, Kelly A. Foks, Jeannette Hofmeijer, Mathieu Van Der Jagt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose of review To summarize the differential diagnosis and diagnostic approach of sudden unresponsiveness with normal vital signs in various settings, including the ICU. Recent findings Sudden unresponsiveness may be either transient or persistent, and may result from primary brain diseases or nonstructural systemic conditions. Life-threatening causes should always be discriminated from those more benign. Regional epidemiology, for example regarding intoxications, and evolving therapeutic management, for example for ischemic stroke, should always be taken into account for optimal opportunity for rapid diagnosis and best management. Summary Sudden unresponsiveness with normal vital signs should trigger immediate and focused diagnostic evaluation to find or exclude those conditions requiring urgent, and possibly life-saving, management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-660
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Critical Care
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • coma
  • emergency departments
  • ICU
  • neurological diagnostic technique
  • 22/4 OA procedure


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