Brain death and coma, what's the difference?

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Ricky Joseph

Brain death and coma should not be confused, see the difference below!

What is brain death

Brain death should not be confused with coma. Brain death corresponds to the cessation of brain functions, and therefore of respiration and heart, while these functions can be maintained in a coma.

It is a state that was previously known as "irreversible coma". In it, therefore, the brain stops functioning.

The brain controls many vital functions, so when this happens, the patient cannot breathe on their own.

In view of this, artificial respiration allows blood flow to supply the organs. In this way, the heart can continue beating temporarily with the help of resuscitation.

What's the coma?

Coma, in turn, is an alteration of consciousness that can follow from head trauma, ischemia, hemorrhagic stroke, encephalitis, brain tumor, etc.

So it is a transient state that in severe cases can lead to death. The return to consciousness can be quite rapid or more gradual.

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A person with como, however, may experience other states of altered consciousness, such as the vegetative state in which the patient opens their eyes.

Collection of brain-dead organs

Unlike brain death, in coma blood continues to flow to the brain, helping to maintain certain functions.

Thus only brain-dead people can be organ donors.

Therefore, technical assistance is maintained to brain-dead people available to donate their organs to keep them in good condition.

Several tests are done to identify if the patient is brain dead, such as:

  • absence of spontaneous muscle activity;
  • no reflexes;
  • no reaction to pain;
  • absence of breath;
  • electroencephalograms showing absence of electrical activity of the brain;
  • angiography (lack of blood circulation).

Determination of brain death in Brazil

The Federal Council of Medicine (CFM) determined that patients with suspected brain death should be observed and treated for at least six hours before the start of the protocol that confirmed or not the lack of brain activity.

The previous protocol was performed immediately after the absence of brain activity. However, now, patients must be treated for at least six hours counted after suspicion. Then, confirmatory tests can be performed.

Adding the time of the examinations to the six hours, it will therefore take seven hours to determine brain death.

Ricky Joseph is a seeker of knowledge. He firmly believes that through understanding the world around us, we can work to better ourselves and our society as a whole. As such, he has made it his life's mission to learn as much as he can about the world and its inhabitants. Joseph has worked in many different fields, all with the aim of furthering his knowledge. He has been a teacher, a soldier, and a businessman - but his true passion lies in research. He currently works as a research scientist for a major pharmaceutical company, where he is dedicated to finding new treatments for diseases that have long been considered incurable. Through diligence and hard work, Ricky Joseph has become one of the foremost experts on pharmacology and medicinal chemistry in the world. His name is known by scientists everywhere, and his work continues to improve the lives of millions.