The National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke sponsored a collaborative study to determine criteria for brain death. The participants were from multiple institutions across the United States.



(1) evaluation at least 6 hours after the onset of coma and apnea

(2) persistence of findings for 30-60 minutes



(1) completion of all appropriate and therapeutic procedures

(2) unresponsive coma (no response to external stimuli)

(3) apnea

(4) absent cephalic reflexes

(5) dilated, fixed pupils

(6) isoelectric EEG


Confirmatory testing involves demonstration that cerebral circulation is absent. This can be performed if one of the criteria cannot be tested or is difficult to interpret.


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