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Behavioural Neurology
Volume 2014, Article ID 641213, 6 pages
Review Article

Deep Brain Stimulation in Persistent Vegetative States: Ethical Issues Governing Decision Making

1Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Unit of Forensic Medicine, University of Verona, Piazzale L. A. Scuro 10, 37134 Verona, Italy
2Department of Neurologic and Movement Sciences, Unit of Neurology, University of Verona, Piazzale L. A. Scuro 10, 37134 Verona, Italy

Received 1 July 2013; Revised 5 February 2014; Accepted 5 February 2014; Published 16 March 2014

Academic Editor: Veit Roessner

Copyright © 2014 Sara Patuzzo and Paolo Manganotti. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of the present paper was to investigate the fundamental ethical issues of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) on patients remaining in Persistent Vegetative State (PVS). First, the purpose of this analysis was to discuss the nature of this intervention in order to classify it such as an ordinary clinical practice, or otherwise as an extraordinary clinical practice or as experimental research. Second, ethical issues, criticisms, and methodological issues of this intervention, also in the future perspectives, are discussed, attempting to identify who could give informed consent for a patient in PVS.