Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 82–88 | Cite as

Results of four technical investigations in fifty clinically brain dead patients

  • R. Nau
  • H. W. Prange
  • J. Klingelhöfer
  • B. Kukowski
  • D. Sander
  • R. Tchorsch
  • K. Rittmeyer


Fifty consecutive patients (aged 19–77 years, median 56 years) with primary cerebral diseases and the clinical signs of absent cortical and brainstem function were subjected to electroencephalography (EEG), brainstem acoustic evoked potentials (BAEP), extracranial Doppler ultrasonography (ECD) and arterial digital subtraction angiography (DSA). In the majority of cases the results of the technical tests agreed with the clinical signs and were suggestive of brain death. However, in one patient EEG revealed clear bioelectrical activity. In 6 cases, doubts existed about whether the EEG was isoelectric; in 3 of the 6 cases biological activity might have been present. In 31 of 42 patients ECD showed a typical pattern of intracranial circulatory arrest, in 9 of 42 ECD revealed a pattern suggestive of the cessation of cerebral blood flow. In four patients BAEP recordings compatible with brain death were recorded 2–3 days before intracranial circulatory arrest. In 2 patients with isoelectric EEG and absent BAEP arterial DSA demonstrated residual perfusion. The findings are discussed in view of the conceptional differences concerning brain death. It is concluded that the strict application of the concept of death of the whole brain requires angiographic demonstration of absent intracerebral blood flow.

Key words

Brain death Electroencephalography Brainstem acoustic evoked potentials Extracranial Doppler ultrasonography Arterial digital subtraction angiography 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Nau
    • 1
  • H. W. Prange
    • 1
  • J. Klingelhöfer
    • 2
  • B. Kukowski
    • 2
  • D. Sander
    • 2
  • R. Tchorsch
    • 1
  • K. Rittmeyer
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenFRG
  2. 2.Department of Clinical NeurophysiologyUniversity of GöttingenFRG
  3. 3.Department of NeuroradiologyUniversity of GöttingenFRG

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