Article Text

G509(P) Paediatric brainstem death: Different rules for different countries? early results from an international survey and review of the literature
  1. C Kanaris1,2,
  2. D Ram3,
  3. A Sridharan1,3
  1. 1Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester, UK
  2. 2Centre of Social Ethics and Policy, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
  3. 3Department of Paediatric Neurology, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester, UK


The clinical diagnosis of brainstem death in children allows withdrawal of life support and may also open up the option of organ donation. Declaration of brainstem death in the UK follows a certain set of examinations as outlined by the code of practice and diagnosis published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. Experiences with non-UK patients within British paediatric intensive care units have highlighted that the code of practice varies internationally and literature reveals that the codes of practice for confirmation of brainstem death in children throughout the world have not been systematically investigated. This paper reports early results on paediatric brainstem death guidelines. We reviewed legal standards and the current clinical literature on 50 countries obtained through personal contacts with physicians. The authors have found significant variation in procedural requirements for diagnosing brainstem death in children between nations, including variations in apnoea testing and number of physicians required to confirm death.

Statistics from

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.