Brain death in children: clinical, neurophysiological and radioisotopic angiography findings in 125 patients

Childs Nerv Syst. 2000 Jan;16(1):40-5; discussion 46. doi: 10.1007/s003810050010.


The objective of this study was to determine the main clinical, neurophysiological and angiographic findings in brain death (BD) in children seen at the Instituto Nacional de Pediatría, a third-level facility in Mexico City, between 1991 and 1996. The following variables were retrospectively analyzed: sex, age, etiology, associated morbidity, duration of stay in hospital, and the results of two of three confirmatory studies (electroencephalogram, evoked potentials, radioisotopic angiography). In all, 125 patients were studied 78 male, median age 2 years (range: 18 days to 17 years)[. The most frequent etiology was infection (34%); 57% of the children developed associated morbidity. In 111 of 122 patients electrocerebral silence was observed; 100 of 107 had brain stem and somatosensory evoked potentials affording conclusive evidence of BD; and 83 of 90 patients had a positive radioisotopic angiography indicating BD. In 76 patients all three confirmatory studies were performed: for 15 there was at least one false-negative test result. Our age cohort showed a predominance of children less than 2 years old. BD etiologies in developing countries differ from those reported in developed countries.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Death / diagnosis*
  • Brain Death / physiopathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Radionuclide Angiography*
  • Retrospective Studies