There are no warning signs for locked-in syndrome. The only signs that someone may have locked-in syndrome include waking from a coma but remaining paralyzed and unable to communicate. Locked-in syndrome commonly occurs following a stroke or brain hemorrhage that affects the brain stem, although it can occur because of a traumatic brain injury.
What Is Locked-In Syndrome?
Locked-in syndrome is a condition that occurs following damage to the brainstem. Those who suffer this condition are aware and cognitively intact but have neurological symptoms that include:
- The inability to speak
- The inability to move their facial muscles
The affected person may or may not be able to blink their eyes and may or may not suffer deficits of autonomic functions.
Most people with locked-in syndrome retain the ability to move their eyes vertically but not horizontally. He or she can often communicate using these eye movements thanks to eye gaze devices.
Signs and Symptoms of Locked-In Syndrome
While there are no real warning signs that a person will suffer locked-in syndrome following a stroke before the condition occurs, getting immediate medical care if you spot signs of a stroke or hemorrhage is important. You should seek emergency medical care if you experience:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in any part of the body
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty speaking or understanding speech
- Inability to swallow or speak
- Sudden, unusual vision issues
- Sudden, unexplained issues with coordination
Following a stroke, the patient’s family members are often the first to suspect locked-in syndrome. If you believe your loved one is experiencing some or all the following, talk to their doctor immediately about your concerns:
- Global paralysis including no response to painful stimuli
- Vertical eye movements and blinking
- Fully alert and aware of those around them
- Full cognitive functioning
Reducing the Risk of Locked-In Syndrome
In most cases, there is no way to prevent or cure locked-in syndrome once a stroke, hemorrhage, or traumatic brain injury occurs. However, it may be possible to reduce the risk of developing locked-in syndrome by reducing your risk of having a stroke. This may be possible by:
- Eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats
- Eating a diet low in saturated fat, total fat, and cholesterol
- Treating high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes
- Losing weight, if necessary
- Reducing sodium intake
- Staying active
Pursuing Compensation for Locked-In Syndrome
In some cases, you may be able to pursue compensation for damages related to locked-in syndrome. If medical malpractice or a personal injury accident contributed to your loved one’s condition, the team from Newsome | Melton is standing by to review your case for free. Recoverable damages could include:
- Medical treatment costs
- Ongoing care costs
- Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Let our team of injury attorneys take a look at your case today. Call (800) 917-5888 for a free evaluation.