The implementation of a protocol promoting the safe practice of brain death determination

Jonathan Cohen, Avraham Steinberg, Pierre Singer, Tamar Ashkenazi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of the study is to describe the implementation of measures introduced in Israel in 2009 to promote the safe practice of brain death determination (BDD). Materials and methods: The measures require (1) physicians to undergo a mandatory training course, (2) the mandatory performance of an ancillary test, and (3) retrospective examination of all BDD forms by an independent committee. Any deviations from practice parameters were noted. Surveys were also undertaken to assess (i) the attitude of local physicians to the measures and (ii) whether similar measures are in place in Europe and whether they were considered necessary. Results: After implementation, the measures resulted in the absence of deviations from practice parameters over time. A majority of local physician (n = 64) felt the measures added a sense of security to BDD (73%) and ensured its proper performance (85%). The European survey (n = 20 countries) revealed (1) specialized BDD training is required in 60%, provided in 50%, while felt necessary by 80%; (2) independent supervision of BDD is performed in only one other country; and (3) BDD is performed country-wide using the same criteria in 80% while felt necessary by 95%. Conclusion: The measures were successfully implemented, reduced diversity in patient testing, and positively accepted by local physicians. Wider application of the measures may be appropriate as suggested by the results of a European survey and the variability of BDD reported in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-110
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Critical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Inc.


  • Accreditation
  • Ancillary testing
  • Brain death determination
  • Training


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