Robert Truog Discusses Determination of Brain Death with JAMA

Center Director Robert Truog talks to JAMA about the World Brain Death Project's latest report

Illustration of a brain with red and blue background for JAMARobert Truog, MD, joined contributors to the World Brain Death Project in presenting an international consensus report on the criteria for brain death diagnoses, or the determination of death by neurologic criteria (BD/DNC). The report, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, addresses global inconsistencies in clinical guidelines surrounding BD/DNC, and identifies the need for better education and certification of clinicians who are authorized to diagnose bran death.

The World Brain Death Project guidelines serve as a foundational report for all clinicians involved in determining brain death. Scientific experts and representatives of numerous societies contributed to this process and were able to provide recommendations for the minimum clinical standards for determination of BD/DNC in adults and children, with clear guidance for various clinical circumstances. To bring these recommendations to the medical community, evidence to support existing tests must increase, which might require greater use of advanced diagnostic technologies. A key question will be whether the whole-brain biological standard for defining BC/DNC will remain viable, or whether this concept should be replaced by the values-based brainstem standard. Since many clinicians do not have access to advanced technologies, the World Brain Death Project must focus on developing and validating methods that rely on clinical examinations and widely available diagnostic tools. Harvard ID holders can find the editorial on the Harvard Library website.

Read the full article in JAMA and listen to the podcast here.

For more information on Dr. Truog's research on brain death, listen to him discuss his work, Understanding Brain Death, on Conversations with Dr. Bauchner, a podcast series associated with JAMA.