Cases reported "Brain Death"

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1/15. Ethical perspectives in neuroscience nursing practice.

    The role of neuroscience nurses in relation to ethical issues has become increasingly complex. knowledge of ethical principles and theories assists the nurse in the development of a theoretical basis for resolution of ethical issues or concerns. Additionally, the nurse must possess information regarding practice codes or standards as well as legislative requirements. The nurse must act as an advocate for the patient and society through active participation in institutional ethics committees and legislative forums.
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2/15. Diagnosing death: What's trust got to do with it?

    physicians licensed to practice medicine have enjoyed socially endorsed, legally underwritten status-trust to a remarkable degree. However, such trust is not endorsed equally by all segments of American society, most notably, by african americans. Because physicians underappreciate this fact, they fail to understand how routine medical behavior can disproportionately exacerbate african americans' pre-existing suspicions. On the other hand, overinterpretation of this fact needlessly risks despair. A theory of trust provides guidance in resolving clinical conflicts.
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3/15. Confounding factors in diagnosing brain death: a case report.

    BACKGROUND: brain death is strictly defined medically and legally. This diagnosis depends on three cardinal neurological features: coma, absent brainstem reflexes, and apnea. The diagnosis can only be made, however, in the absence of intoxication, hypothermia, or certain medical illnesses. CASE PRESENTATION: A patient with severe hypoxic-ischemic brain injury met the three cardinal neurological features of brain death but concurrent profound hypothyroidism precluded the diagnosis. Our clinical and ethical decisions were further challenged by another facet of this complex case. Although her brain damage indicated a hopeless prognosis, we could not discontinue care based on futility because the only known surrogate was mentally retarded and unable to participate in medical planning. CONCLUSION: The presence of certain medical conditions prohibits a diagnosis of brain death, which is a medicolegal diagnosis of death, not a prediction or forecast of future outcome. While prognostication is important in deciding to withdraw care, it is not a component in diagnosing brain death.
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4/15. Improving oxygenation when conventional ventilation fails: a case study.

    Long periods of significant hypoxia do not disqualify a patient from becoming an organ donor. As the management of organ donor patients becomes more complex, recovery coordinators often have to change their thinking and resort to nonconventional means of management. This case study presents a hypoxic donor and how using pressure-control inverse ratio ventilation improved oxygenation in this donor. Before changing ventilator modes, the transplant surgeons were concerned about the long periods of hypoxia the patient had experienced during her hospitalization. After making the change, improving oxygenation, and demonstrating an improved oxygen state, 4 organs were recovered and subsequently transplanted. All the recovered organs functioned immediately after transplantation without any signs of poor performance. Although this treatment modality is not available at every institution, it can be used to improve oxygenation problems in organ donors.
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5/15. Complex spinal reflexes during transcranial Doppler ultrasound examination for the confirmation of brain death.

    OBJECTIVE: Complex sets of movements of the extremities can be seen in patients with brain death (BD), and are typically observed during apnea testing or removal of ventilatory support (also called the Lazarus sign). We here describe brain-dead patients who had not shown previous movements, even during apnea testing, but presented complex spinal reflexes during transcranial Doppler (TCD) examination elicited by neck flexion. methods: We performed a prospective TCD study of patients with the clinical diagnosis of BD. RESULTS: Four (2.5%) of 161 brain-dead patients presented complex spinal reflexes exclusively during TCD examination. TCD showed vertebro-basilar circulatory arrest in all four. Their systolic blood pressure was significantly lower than that of brain-dead patients not presenting movements during TCD examination. CONCLUSIONS: hypotension and mechanical stimulation play a role in the pathophysiology of complex spinal reflexes present in BD, which are not exclusively seen in terminal hypoxia. intensive care personnel and neurologists who perform TCD to confirm BD should be aware of these movements.
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6/15. Using EEG in a consultative role.

    The electroencephalogram (EEG) is a long-used tool assisting health care providers with the diagnosis, management, and treatment of various neurological disorders. This article highlights several scenarios in which a consultant may utilize the routine EEG in managing specific neurological cases. Eight case scenarios from a tertiary referral hospital are presented for the reader's consideration. Scenarios selected are new-onset seizures, encephalopathy, syncope, dementia, brain death, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, status epilepticus, and migraine. A history in each condition is presented and is followed by a discussion of how useful an EEG may be in these specific situations. These eight cases highlight specific learning points where the EEG may be useful and how it can be practically incorporated into care of patients. Understanding how the EEG may be useful in the presented cases will allow the efficient and effective use of the EEG in similar clinical scenarios.
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7/15. The undulating toe flexion sign in brain death.

    Brain-dead patients may exhibit gross spontaneous and reflex movements (e.g., Babinski sign, stereotypic flexion of one or more limbs, and Lazarus sign). We report three brain-dead patients who had unusual complex sequential movements of the toes. Undulating toe flexion was elicited by noxious stimuli to the lower extremities, and consisted of initial plantar flexion of the great toe, followed by sequential brief plantar flexion of the second, third, fourth, and fifth toes. The undulating toe flexion sign differs from previously described responses characterized by plantar flexion of the toes (e.g., Rosselimo's sign and the Mendel-Bechterew sign) in that it consists of complex patterned sequential movements of the digits rather than brief simultaneous flexion and/or fanning of the toes. Neurologists should be aware of this unusual finding, which should not preclude the diagnosis of brain death.
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8/15. Maternal brain death: medical, ethical and legal issues.

    CASE PRESENTATION: We present the case of a pregnant woman who experienced a cerebral venous sinus thrombosis resulting in brain death at 13 weeks gestation. We discuss the management of the mother and foetus following this tragic event. We also discuss the complex medical, legal and ethical issues that arose following maternal brain death. The central question is whether continuing maternal organ supportive measures in an attempt to prolong gestation to attain foetal viability is appropriate, or whether it constitutes futile care. DISCUSSION: Successful maintenance of maternal brain somatic function to facilitate foetal maturation in utero has been reported. While the gestational age of the foetus is central to resolving this issue, there is no clear upper physiological limit to the prolongation of somatic function following brain death. Furthermore, medical experience regarding prolonged somatic support is limited. Finally, the legal rights conferred on the foetus may vary significantly depending on the jurisdiction in which the maternal brain death occurs and may have important implications. CONCLUSIONS: A consensus building approach, involving the family, is essential to resolving these potentially conflicting issues.
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9/15. Preserved spinal dorsal horn potentials in a brain-dead patient with Lazarus' sign. Case report.

    The case of a brain-dead patient with complex movements of the extremities (Lazarus' sign) is reported. This is the first description in the literature of short-latency somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEP's) following median-nerve stimulation by a noncephalic reference method. The scalp P14 wave (a far-field positivity with a peak latency around 14 msec that originates from the cervicomedullary junction) disappeared, and the spinal N13 wave (a near-field negativity with a 13-msec peak recorded on the posterior neck and generated by the cervical dorsal horn) was preserved. Respiratory-like movement was also seen in this case. The SSEP. findings support the hypothesis that both Lazarus' sign and respiratory-like movement have a spinal origin.
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10/15. Sudden traumatic death in children: "we did everything, but your child didn't survive".

    When caring for children who become suddenly and catastrophically ill, clinicians must simultaneously attend to a complex and rapidly evolving medical situation, as well as to the equally challenging demands of establishing compassionate relationships with family members and communicating well with colleagues. An 18-month-old toddler was brought to the hospital with severe head injury after being struck by a car. Over a period of hours, her condition evolved from prognostic uncertainty to the diagnosis of brain death and considerations of organ donation. Against this medical backdrop, the clinicians successfully established a trusting relationship with family members by careful attention to their emotional, informational, and care needs as they absorbed the devastating prognosis, took in the results of the brain death examination, and considered the option of organ donation. This case illustrates the importance of interdisciplinary communication, the vital role of social workers and other psychosocial providers with expertise in working with families, and the critical significance of mutual care and support for the clinicians who accompany families through these tragic life events.
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