Friday, December 26, 2008

Fainting In The Name Of

OR: The Glasgow Coma Scale-Revised: The Texting Sign.

Watch Killing in the Name, live at the Reading Festival 2008.

Rage Against the Machine Syncope

First we had dangerous sandwiches. Now we have dangerous concerts, as described in an article in the special Christmas edition of BMJ by Mike Sinclair and colleagues (Sinclair et al., 2008). They examined the utility of texting ability as a sign of return to consciousness after fainting or panic attack at large outdoor music festivals in the UK:

Three years ago we noticed that most of the patients with faint [syncope] or panic attack were teenagers and as soon as they could they used their mobile phones to send an SMS (short message service) text message to their friends...

The ability to text, whether or not it actually makes sense, requires a Glasgow coma scale score of 15 (fully conscious), an adequately functioning "executive system" in the frontal lobes, and a high degree of manual dexterity and psychomotor coordination. It also shows a degree of common sense not always evident in teenagers.

Two years ago we decided to use this texting sign as an indication that patients had recovered from their faint or panic attack and were orientated and coordinated enough to be discharged back to the festival. At times of massive influx to the medical tent, when up to two patients a minute are triaged, this system seems to work well.

The sets by Bloc Party and Rage Against the Machine were particularly busy times. The Festival Medical Services pit crew was able to treat
142 patients in less than 60 minutes during the performance by Bloc Party and 130 patients over 90 minutes during the performance by Rage Against the Machine. The texting sign needs further investigation to determine whether it is a valid criterion for recovery after faint or panic attack at festivals as well as in busy accident and emergency departments.
And now you do what they told ya (11 times)...

For another music-related article from the same issue of BMJ, see Between a rock and a hard bass in Mind Hacks.


M. Sinclair, D. W Pigott, K. N Carpenter (2008). Texting shows recovery after faint. BMJ, 337. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.a2723.

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At December 27, 2008 2:06 AM, Blogger Neuroskeptic said...

The Hold Steady tell us of another way to work out whether someone has recovered -

"and his friend gave him four, but said only take one,
but then he got bored and ended up taking all four.
ah, so now my man ain't that bored anyways,
the paramedics found him: he was shaking on the side of the stage.

"Everything was spinning and I came to in the chillout tent,
they gave me oranges and cigarettes."
"I got really hot and then I came to in the chillout tent"
"They gave us oranges and cigarettes."

she looked just like a baby bird, all new and wet and trying to light a Parliament
he quoted her some poetry, he's Tennyson in denim and sheepskin.
he looked a lot like Izzy Stradlin.
they started kissing when the nurses took off their IVs,
it was kinda sexy, but it was kinda creepy.
their mouths were fizzy with the cherry cola,
they had the privacy of bedsheets
and all the other kids were mostly in comas."
- The Hold Steady, Chillout Tent


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