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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 43-49

Evolution of the concepts of brain death and brain stem death


1 Department of Anaesthesiology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney, Australia; Mazumdar Shaw Medical Centre, Narayana Health, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Anaesthesiology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mathew George
Department of Anaesthesiology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Ponekkara, P. O, Kochi - 682 041, Kerala
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/AMJM.AMJM_9_20

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Brain stem death has remained a topic of contention among physicians and laypersons for many years. The evolution of the current definition of brain stem death has been the end result of decades of scientific study and deliberation. Although the concept has been known historically, a scientific probe into the matter had been made possible only during the late 20th century. This led to a healthy discussion regarding the obscure nature of brain stem death among experts on different continents, leading to the current definition provided by the American Association of Neurology in 2010. This review article aims at shedding light on the institution of brain stem death and the evolution of the definition, as we know it today. Brain stem death has remained a topic of contention among physicians and laypersons for many years. The evolution of the current definition of brain stem death has been the end result of decades of scientific study and deliberation. Although the concept has been known historically, a scientific probe into the matter had been made possible only during the late 20th century. This led to a healthy discussion regarding the obscure nature of brain stem death among experts on different continents, leading to the current definition provided by the American Association of Neurology in 2010. This has proved to be a boon for the organ transplantation program; providing the system with a new, ethical donor pool and making available healthy organs that could change the lives of people living with organ failure. All this progress is relatively new and comes hand in hand with controversies. This review article aims at shedding light on the institution of brain death and the evolution of the definition, as we know it today.


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