A volume in the Handbook of Clinical Neurology series (Series Editors: Michael J. Aminoff, Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, USA; François Boller, Bethesda, USA; Dick F. Swaab, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Amsterdam, the Netherlands) on disorders of consciousness. This volume is aimed at neurologists and all those involved with the care of patients with altered levels of consciousness. Emphasis is given to distinguishing reversible disorders from the irreversible and disorders requiring medical treatment from those requiring neurosurgical management. The technological advances in neuroimaging and how this has affected the understanding of the neurological basis of consciousness and the approach to the patient with an altered level of consciousness is covered, as are the resulting ethical issues. CONTENTS Section 1: Theory and practice: Consciousness: concepts, neurobiology, terminology of impairments, theoretical models and philosophical background. Consciousness: its neurological relevance. Section 2: Syndromes of impaired consciousness: Delirium in the critically ill patient. Coma and stupor. Herniation. The vegetative and minimally conscious states. Section 3: Specific entities: Metabolic encephalopathies. Nutritional disorders. Coma induced by intoxication. Ischemic stroke and anoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Infectious etiologies of altered consciousness. Traumatic brain injury. Seizures and impairment of consciousness. Syncope. Altered consciousness associated with brain neoplasms. Abnormal conscious state and coma in transplant recipients. Pregnancy and coma. Psychogenic unresponsiveness and nonepileptic seizures. Coma in childhood. Section 4: Management issues: Management of the comatose patient. Ethical issues in the management of patients with impaired consciousness.