oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Coma : the common causes in an African medical ward

Volume 19, Issue 7
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



By far the most common cause of coma in Africans admitted to Harare Hospital was the metabolic group of diseases (hepatic encephalopathy, diabetes mellitus and uraemia). In this group hepatic failure was far more common than diabetes or renal failure. Unusual conditions included carbon monoxide poisoning during the cold months of the year and spontaneous hypoglyoaemia. Cerebral malaria was encountered relatively uncommonly in this series. There was a fairly large number of cases in which the cause was not adequately determined and it was not possible to estimate the extent to which African poisons were responsible.

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