The observation period after clinical brain death diagnosis according to ancillary tests: differences between supratentorial and infratentorial bra…

A new interesting article has been published in J Neurol. 2019 Aug;266(8):1859-1868. doi: 10.1007/s00415-019-09338-5. Epub 2019 May 2. and titled:

The observation period after clinical brain death diagnosis according to ancillary tests: differences between supratentorial and infratentorial bra…

Authors of this article are:

Hernández-Hernández MÁ, Marco de Lucas E, Muñoz-Esteban C, Hernández JL, Fernández-Torre JL.

A summary of the article is shown below:

OBJECTIVE: To determine the optimal observation period (OBP) in adults with a clinical diagnosis of brain death (BD) using electroencephalography (EEG) or computerized tomography angiography (CTA).METHODS: We conducted a retrospective observational analysis of adult patients with a diagnosis of BD from January 2000 to February 2017. The optimal OBP was defined as the minimum time interval from the first complete clinical neurological examination (CNE) that ensures that neither a second CNE nor any ancillary test (AT) performed after this period would fail to confirm BD.RESULTS: The study sample included 447 patients. In the supratentorial group, the first AT confirmed BD in 389 cases (98%), but in 8 (2%) cases the complementary test was incongruent. In this group, 8 of 245 patients in whom the first AT was carried out within the first 2 h after a complete CNE had a non-confirmatory test of BD versus none of 152 in whom the first AT was delayed more than 2 h (3.0% vs 0.0%; p = 0.026). In the infratentorial group, we found a higher probability of obtaining a first non-confirmatory AT of BD (34% vs 2%; p = 0.0001) and an OBP greater than 32.5 h was necessary to confirm a BD diagnosis.CONCLUSIONS: We found important differences in the confirmation of BD diagnosis between primary supratentorial and infratentorial lesion, and identified an optimal OBP of 2 h in patients with supratentorial lesions. By contrast, in primary posterior fossa/infratentorial lesions, the determination of an optimal OPB remains less accurate and hence more challenging.

Check out the article’s website on Pubmed for more information:



This article is a good source of information and a good way to become familiar with topics such as: Ancillary test;Brain death;Clinical examination;Computerized tomography angiography;Electroencephalography;Observation period.

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