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Kretschmer's syndrome

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A collective term for a persistent vegetative state seen in patients with loss of functions of the pallium. The syndrome consists of global aphasia, apraxia, and agnosia following severe brain injury, anoxia, or poisoning. Patient is mute and immobile; eyes may follow people’s movements or may be diverted by sound. Pain reflexes are present, but no emotional change accompanies them. If fed, patient swallows but does not always chew. Sleep is prolonged; aroused by normal stimuli. The lesions may involve the cortex itself, subcortical structures of the hemisphere, or the brain stem, either singly or in various combinations.


  • E. Kretschmer:
    Das apallische Syndrom.
    Zeitschrift für die gesamte Neurologie und Psychiatrie, Berlin, 1940, 169: 576-579.
  • B. Jennett, F. Plum:
    Persistent vegetative state after brain damage. A syndrome in search of a name.
    Lancet, London, 1972, 1: 734-737.

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