Bioethics Quarterly

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 39-45

First online:

The EEG as confirmatory evidence of brain death: Previous and current approaches

  • Robert J. WilkusAffiliated withAssociate Professor of Laboratory Medicine (EEG) and Medicine (Neurology) at the University of Washington School of Medicine

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The role of EEG in confirming the clinical diagnosis of isolated brain death has undergone evolutionary changes since the original recommendations concerning its use. Accumulated evidence now supports that approach that the EEG can be used not only as a confirmatory test for brain death, but one which considerably facilitates making the diagnosis. Using the EEG, brain death can often be identified with absolute certainty within just a few, rather than the previously recommended 24 or more hours after a known precipitating event. Guidelines to this effect have now been established.