Transcranial Doppler Shortens the Time Between Clinical Brain Death and Angiographic Confirmation: A Randomized Trial

ArticleinTransplantation 94(6):585-8 · August 2012with9 Reads
Impact Factor: 3.83 · DOI: 10.1097/TP.0b013e3182612947 · Source: PubMed


    Brain death diagnosis relies on clinical signs, but confirmatory tests are legally mandatory in some countries. In France, transcranial Doppler (TCD) is not recognized as a legal test to confirm brain death. Nevertheless, experts recommend its use to determine the need for a legal confirmatory test. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that TCD shortens the time between clinical brain death and computed tomography angiography (CTA) confirmation.
    We conducted a prospective randomized controlled study to evaluate the benefit of a TCD-directed strategy before performing the CTA to confirm brain death. Once the clinical diagnosis of brain death was established, subjects were randomized in a conventional group (CTA 6 hr later as recommended in France) or a TCD group (TCD examination every 2 hr until intracranial brain death flow patterns were found). Forty-four subjects were needed to show a difference of 2 hr between the two strategies.
    TCD strategy resulted in a shorter time between clinical diagnosis of brain death and CTA confirmation compared with conventional strategy (2.0 [1.3-2.6] vs. 7.2 [6.3-9.5] hr, P<0.0001). The number of brain CTA performed to confirm the diagnosis of brain death was not different between groups.
    Our results suggest that TCD-directed strategy allows reducing the time between clinical diagnosis of brain death and CTA confirmation.