Case of the Month #32 Brain Stem Death

Published 03/10/2022

Take Home Messages

  1. The motor score of the GCS correlates more closely to brain function compared to the Eyes or Voice components.
  2. Recognition of the pathophysiological response to increasing ICP and subsequent tonsillar herniation is vital to ensure prompt medical and/or surgical treatment can be instigated therefore minimising secondary neurological injury.
  3. The definition and criteria for diagnosing brainstem death are clearly outlined within the “Diagnosis of Death using Neurological Criteria” form which is available on the FICM website.
  4. These criteria are designed to test the function of as many or the Cranial Nerves as possible. Knowledge of the anatomy of the reflex arcs involved will aid understanding of this testing process.