Objective: For persons in states of disordered consciousness (DoC) after severe traumatic brain injury (sTBI), we report cumulative findings from safety examinations, including serious adverse events (AEs) of a repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) parameter protocol in 2 different studies. Participants: Seven persons in states of DoC after sTBI with widespread neuropathology, but no large lesions in proximity to the site of rTMS. One participant had a ventriculoperitoneal shunt with programmable valve. Methods: Two clinical trials each providing 30 rTMS sessions to the right or left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, involving 300 to 600 pulses over 1 or 2 sessions daily. One study provided concomitant amantadine. Safety indicators monitored related to sleep, temperature, blood pressure, skin integrity, sweating, weight loss, infections, and seizure. Results: Average changes for monitored indicators were of mild severity, with 75 nonserious AEs and 1 serious AE (seizure). The participant incurring a seizure resumed rTMS while taking antieplieptics without further seizure activity. Conclusions: Considering elevated risks for this patient population and conservative patient selection, findings indicate a relatively safe profile for the specified rTMS protocols; however, potential for seizure induction must be monitored. Future research for this population can be broadened to include patients previously excluded on the basis of profiles raising safety concerns.
- Disorders of consciousness
- Severe traumatic brain injury
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Clinical Neurology