NYC Healthcare News



Second brain death exam impacts organ donation rates

January 14, 2016

The average time between the two exams in the study was 19 hours, three times longer than recommended by the New York State Health Department. As the time between exams increased, consent for organ donation decreased from 57 percent to 45 percent. In addition, refusal of organ donation increased from 23 percent to 36 percent as the time between exams increased.

In New York, the State Department of Health's 2005 brain death guidelines require a breathing test and two clinical brain death exams, carried out six hours apart. In 2010, the American Academy of Neurology updated its brain death guidelines, which now call for only one brain death examination.

"These findings illustrate why there's a crucial need to standardize approaches for determining brain death," said Gene Sung, MD, MPH, of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, who wrote an editorial regarding the article that is published in Neurology.

SOURCE American Academy of Neurology