Can stimulation of nerve growth factors by focused transcranial extracorporeal shock wave therapy (TESWT) be made effective for persons within unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (apallic syndrome)?
Between eight and 18 years after the brain lesion, five patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome of differing severity received TESWT with the device Duolith (Storz Medical) during four-week physicomedical complex therapies. In the previous years they had been treated with the same complex therapies without TESWT. The vigilance did not change.
After two-four years and an average of 5.2 treatment series, the patients' abilities improved by 135.9% on the German Coma Remission Scale (KRS) and by 43.6% on the Glasgow Coma Scale. In the motor area of the KRS, the patients improved by 64.3%. Three PEG feeding tubes could be removed, nonverbal communication initiated four times.
In this longitudinal observation study, focused TESWT stimulated vigilance in patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome. The precise neurophysiological effects remain to be verified by a study of the clinical results.