Difference Between Akinetic Mutism and Locked-In Syndrome


Akinetic mutism and locked-in syndrome are both classed as rare conditions relations to the brain. Akinetic mutism is a rare condition where there is extremely slow or no bodily movement present, this is often aslope severely slowed or absent speech. Locked-in syndrome is characterized every bit a neurological disorder, presenting with no ability to move except with the eyes and no ability to speak. These conditions often are mistaken for another, merely each has specific symptoms which confirm the correct diagnosis.


Akinetic mutism involves the severe slowing and absence of torso move and speech patterns. It is a rare condition that has been reported in patients (oft children) suffering encephalon tumours, key nervous organization infections (both bacterial or viral infections), a condition where there is accumulation of fluid in the brain termed hydrocephalus, and on the rare occasion equally a postal service-operative complexity. Akinetic mutism results in a severely reduced mental function only a present wakefulness and preserved self-sensation. The long-term prognosis for this condition is currently unknown.

Locked-in syndrome is a rare neurological condition where there is a total state of paralysis in all of the voluntary muscle groups in the body, except for those decision-making middle movement. Complete advice is usually possible and washed through eye movements and blinking. This syndrome is caused past harm to an area of the brain chosen the pons. This expanse is function of the brainstem, and it is responsible for relaying formation to parts of the brain via nerve fibres. Locked-in syndrome can exist caused by bleeding in the pons or due to a lack of oxygen in the pons. These are often the outcome of strokes, tumours, infection, loss of insulation effectually the nerve cells, and atrophy disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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The symptoms of this condition are directly resultant from neurological changes, and are equally follows:

  • Reduced and/or absence motor functions (not complete paralysis)
  • Reduced and/or absence of speech capabilities
  • Reduction or absence of inhibition and emotions
  • Apathetic movement and ever-present slowness

This condition can be misdiagnosed as a mental health illness such as depression, also as locked-in syndrome. This is because the cases oft nowadays similarly, but correct diagnosis is important for acceptable and effective treatment.

Locked in syndrome may nowadays with the following symptoms:

  • Disability to consciously chew or swallow
  • Loss of ability to breathe
  • Loss of ability to speak
  • Unable to motion in any fashion other than moving the eyes and eyelids

Potential causes

Akinetic mutism can the result of a stroke occurring in the thalamus of the brain, infections such equally meningitis, trauma to the brain, acute encephalitis, a resultant condition of oxygen starvation to the brain, the occurrence of tumours and cysts, aneurysms, and central nervous systems infections.

Locked-in syndrome can occur as a consequence of the interruption in the motor fibre nerve message connectedness due to lack of blood catamenia to the pons or bleeding in the pons from a stroke, infection, or chronic conditions.


Depending on the cause behind akinetic mutism, and the severity thereof, various treatment options may be explored. These include:

  • Magnesium sulphate
  • Removal or draining of cysts causing the status
  • Dopamine therapy

In other cases, there is no viable treatment options for the patient.

Treatment for locked-in syndrome is generally aimed at targeting the underlying crusade of the syndrome.

  • If caused by a clot, then intraarterial thrombolytic therapy tin exist administered to reverse the clot
  • Bogus breathing machines to assist in breathing in initial stages of the syndrome
  • Infections may be treated with medication
  • Chronic conditions such as tumours tin can be treated with steroids and radiation therapy
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Degenerative atmospheric condition are usually treated with end-of-life support and palliative care

Table of comparing between akinetic mutism and locked-in syndrome


Akinetic mutism and locked-in syndrome are both rare neurological weather condition with similar presentation but different causes and divergence treatments. Although these weather condition can be misdiagnosed, symptoms will differentiate them, and effective treatment is important for chance of survival.


What is akinetic mutism?

Akinetic mutism is a rare and circuitous neurological disorder. Patients suffering from akinetic mutism are non able to maintain an intact consciousness, attention, or responsiveness level. This status is associated with structural impairment to a wide diverseness of areas in the brain and is particularly difficult to diagnose because owing to its complexity.

What is locked-in syndrome?

Locked-in syndrome, or pseudocoma, is a condition characterized by a total and complete paralysis of all the voluntary muscle groups, except for muscles which command center move. This is due to damage occurring in the brain stem. Patients with this syndrome are conscious just are unable to communicate, with no standard course of handling or cure available.

Is akinetic mutism a coma?

Akinetic mutism is not a coma but can easily exist mistaken for ane. Patients with akinetic mutism are fully awake and responsive with the ability to communicate merely not through a suitable verbal response (sometimes nowadays merely significantly delayed) and unremarkably void of emotions. Paralysis or blackout are not deemed for symptoms of akinetic mutism.

Can y’all come out of locked-in syndrome?

Recovery from locked-in syndrome is unpredictable and highly variable, often dependant on the underlying cause. In cases where locked-in syndrome is astute, there is commonly a high mortality charge per unit. When receiving appropriate medical care, patients suffering from this syndrome can have a longer life expectancy, extending over decades. Survivors of locked-in syndrome could regain certain functions only, in about cases, they remain in a condition of minimal motor part with low levels of progress.


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