As a type of organ system failure, brain failure invariably affects consciousness. Based on physical examination, altered
consciousness may be described in various stratified states of severity, culminating in brain death. Multimodal monitoring
of cerebral function may be helpful in supplementing the physical examination when assessing brain failure. The pathophysiology
of brain failure is briefly reviewed, and the unique relationship between cardiac arrest and brain failure is considered.
Brain failure can independently produce a wide-ranging set of deleterious effects on extracerebral organ systems. Definitions
of death based on both cardiovascular and neurologic criteria are addressed, and the issue of whole-brain death as equivalent
to traditional notions of death is discussed.
This chapter contains 2 figures, 2 tables, 76 references, 5 Board-styled MCQs, and 1 Teaching Slide Set.