Case of the Month #32 Brain Stem Death

Published 03/10/2022

What is Brain-stem Death?

The two criteria to confirm death are:

  • the irreversible loss of consciousness and
  • loss of spontaneous ventilation. 

Brain-stem death is caused by neurological damage to the brain-stem resulting in loss of both consciousness and spontaneous ventilation. 

Diagnosis of brain-stem death requires two doctors of appropriate experience to independently ensure that the required prerequisites for testing are satisfied and that all brain-stem reflexes are absent, with no spontaneous ventilation effort occurs during apnoea testing [5].