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locked-in syndrome

 [lok't in]
a condition in which the patient is awake and retains mental capacity but cannot express himself or herself because of paralysis of afferent motor pathways, preventing speech and limb movements (except for some form of voluntary eye movement, usually up and down). The patient may be able to establish effective communication through eye movements and specially adapted computers or letter boards.

locked-·in syn·drome

basis pontis infarct resulting in tetraplegia, horizontal ophthalmoplegia, dysphagia, and facial diplegia with preserved consciousness; caused by basilar artery occlusion.
Synonym(s): pseudocoma


A state mimicking acute unconsciousness with intact self-awareness, occurring in (1) Organic disease states–eg, 'locked-in syndrome' (2) Psychogenic unresponsiveness, due to catatonic states–eg, schizophrenia, severe depression, hysterical reactions or in frank malingering or (3) Near-death experiences, for which there is no acceptable scientific explanation. Cf Coma.
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