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June 10, 1968


JAMA. 1968;204(11):1000. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140240056019

The medical, moral, and philosophical dilemma presented by modern medical technology in sustaining "life" has received and will continue to receive considerable attention in the medical and lay press. A recent communication by Kimura et al in the Archives of Internal Medicine,1 reflects the interest in the use of electroencephalography for the possible evaluation of cerebral death.

An iso-electric electroencephalogram, if sustained for a matter of hours, is highly suggestive of cerebral death. The criteria recently introduced by Rosoff and Schwab2 in establishing irreversible brain function consist of the combination of a "flat" EEG, absent spontaneous respiration, and absent reflexes of any type, all coexisting for a 24-hour period. The term "flat EEG" is obscure. The record may not be iso-electric if merely low gain is used, but maximal amplification should elucidate whether or not a record is truly iso-electric.

For the human brain a revival time between