EEG Abnormalities in Clinically Diagnosed Brain Death Organ Donors in Iranian Tissue Bank
Brain death is defined as the permanent, irreversible and concurrent loss of all brain and brain stem functions. Brain death diagnosis is based on clinical criteria and it is not routine to use paraclinical studies. In some countries, electroencephalogram (EEG) is performed in all patients for the determination of brain death while there is some skepticism in relying on EEG as a confirmatory test for brain death diagnosis. In this study, we assessed the validity of EEG and its abnormalities in brain death diagnosis. In this retrospective study, we used 153 EEGs from medical records of 89 brain death patients in organ procurement unit of the Iranian Tissue Bank admitted during 2002-2008. We extracted and analyzed information including EEGs, which were examined by a neurologist for waves, artifacts and EEG abnormalities. The mean age of the patients was 27.2±12.7 years. The most common cause of brain death was multiple traumas due to accident (65%). The most prevalent artifact was electrical transformer. 125 EEGs (82%) were isoelectric (ECS) and seven EEGs (5%) were depictive of some cerebral activity which upon repeat EEGs, they showed ECS patterns too. There was no relationship between cause of brain death and cerebral activity in EEGs of the patients. In this study, we could confirm ECS patterns in all brain death patients whose status had earlier been diagnosed clinically. Considering the results of this study, it seems sensible to perform EEG as a final confirmatory test as an assurance to the patients' families.
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