Altered Level of Consciousness

Head Injury
Metabolic disease

  • Describe the anatomy and physiology of the central and peripheral nervous systems
  • Describe in basic terms the pathophysiology of brain injury
  • Describe how the brain maintains consciousness, how unconsciousness occurs and the differences between unconsciousness and sleep
  • Name and classify the most common CNS pathogens, based on organism type and area of brain commonly affected
  • List toxic agents that can cause altered level of consciousness and describe their mechanisms of action
  • Discuss the indications for the use of the different modalities available to assess neurologic structure and function
  • Describe metabolic and electrolyte abnormalities that cause altered level of consciousness

Overview & Foundational Knowledge

Learn Pediatrics: Approach to the Comatose Child

Nicely structured and practical approach. Definitions of various stats of comatose child. Questions to ask on history, differential diagnosis of comatose child, physical examination findings and management

Avner JR. Altered States of Consciousness. Pediatrics in Review 2006; 27 (9): 331-338. Approach to altered level of consciousness. Common causes, differential diagnosis, (quite detailed) table on herniation syndromes and management.

Virtual Patients or Cases

Altered Level of Consciousness

Patient case on altered level of consciousness. Podcast on altered level of consciousness also available.

Clinical Presentations