Brain death

Disappearance of EEG activity indicates cessation of cortical function, but this does not necessarily occur at the same time as failure of brainstem function. Following sedative drug overdose or profound hypothermia, the EEG may remain isoelectric for more than 24 h in patients who subsequently recover. Conversely, low-amplitude EEG activity may persist for several hours after brain death has been confidently diagnosed by other methods. In countries where the legal definition of brain death includes an isoelectric EEG, reliance cannot be placed upon a monitoring device; a multichannel EEG should be recorded, conforming to stringent technical standards such as those recommended by the Americao i.EGMSocietyiii(1994).

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