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Diagnosis of death and organ donation 

Diagnosis of death and organ donation
Chapter:
Diagnosis of death and organ donation
Author(s):

Paul Murphy

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0394
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date: 26 February 2021

Death is the permanent loss of the capacity for consciousness and respiration, both of which are functions of the brain-stem. Death can be diagnosed by somatic, circulatory, or neurological criteria, which vary between countries and are influenced by prevailing attitudes towards death, legal frameworks, and available medical technologies. When organ retrieval is planned after circulatory death, there is need for a time-critical schedule for the diagnosis of death using circulatory criteria. These require the absence of consciousness and respiratory effort to be demonstrated, and emphasize the need for explicit clarity that resuscitation should not be instigated or continued, how the absence of the circulation should identified, and the minimum period of observation that is required to be assured that the possibility of spontaneous return of the circulation has passed.

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