When you awaken in the morning, you assume you will reach the end of your day without having a medical emergency. Still, if you regularly drive on West Virginia’s occasionally treacherous roadways, you may eventually find yourself in the middle of a catastrophic motor vehicle accident. While trying to save your life, doctors may induce a coma.

A medically induced coma effectively shuts down the patient’s brain. As such, this medical course of action is a serious step in the treatment of individuals. Typically, doctors use the tactic to treat those who have suffered a serious traumatic brain injury. Before undergoing the procedure, though, you should know a few things about medically induced comas.

The purpose 

The effects of serious trauma often do not stop at the time of initial injury. On the contrary, a person may continue to experience consequences for hours, days or weeks after an accident. In the case of a head wound, an individual’s brain may swell. Inducing a coma may give physicians an opportunity to mitigate swelling. It may also stop the body from making grave mistakes when trying to heal itself.

The process 

Doctors have a couple of different options for inducing a coma for medical reasons. For example, they may use anesthesia to limit a patient’s metabolic rate. Alternatively, they may cool the individual’s body, essentially relying on hypothermia to encourage a comatose state. Either way, the process is risky. Accordingly, doctors only induce comas in a controlled intensive-care environment.

The side effects 

Medically induced comas typically cause a number of health-adverse side effects. Often, patients temporarily lose the ability to breathe without the assistance of a mechanical ventilator. They usually also require nutritional help. After the coma ends, patients regularly need significant rehabilitation.

With some luck, you may never have to cope with a medically induced coma following a car crash. Nevertheless, if you sustain a serious injury in an accident, an induced coma may save your life. By understanding the procedure, you can better advocate for your overall health.