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Practical NeurologyNew Practice Guidelines for Determining Brain Death/Death by Neurologic Criteria Published

Digital Application to Assist in Determining Brain Death: A Leap Forward

The medical community is witnessing a significant shift in the understanding and determination of brain death, with the introduction of new consensus practice guidelines. These guidelines, developed by a panel of experts from multiple medical societies, aim to standardize the procedures for determining brain death/death by neurologic criteria (BD/DNC) in both pediatric and adult patients.

Key Points

  • The guidelines provide a more accurate categorization to describe the state of total, irreversible loss of function in the brain and brainstem following catastrophic brain injury.
  • They outline a procedure for detecting independent breathing and clinical function in the brain and brainstem for a patient with suspected brain death.
  • The guidelines update prerequisite conditions necessary for making a determination of BD/DNC.
  • They provide clinicians with a digital application that assists throughout the process of brain death determination.
  • The guidelines combine previously disparate guidance for pediatric and adult patients into a single set of standardized procedures.

“Right now, brain death determination policies vary among hospitals across the US and worldwide, and a standardized approach is necessary. This guideline provides a highly rigorous and structured approach to brain death evaluation and determination. It is recommended that hospital administrators ensure that their hospital’s brain death determination policies are updated to be consistent with this new guideline.”
— Ariane Lewis, MD, FAAN, NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City

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