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10 Brain Failure and Brain Death

Robert Hendry, MD
Chief Neurology Resident, Department of Neurology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

David Crippen, MD, FCCM
Professor of Critical Care Medicine, Departments of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA



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.

Price: $ 14.95
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