Brain Death: The Asian Perspective

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Abstract

Asia is the largest and most populous continent in the world with people from many diverse ethnic groups, religions and government systems. The authors surveyed 14 countries accounting for the majority of Asia's population and found that, although the concept of brain death is widely accepted, there is wide variability in the criteria for certification. Although most Asian countries have adopted the “whole-brain” concept of brain death, most countries with past colonial links to the United Kingdom follow the UK “brainstem” concept of brain death. Despite this difference, most countries require only neurologic testing of irreversible coma and absent brainstem reflexes as criteria for certification of brain death. Variability exists in the number of personnel required, qualifications of certifying doctors, need for repeat examination, minimum time interval between examinations, and requirement for and choice of confirmatory tests.

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