Semin Neurol 2015; 35(02): 152-161
DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1547539
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Brain Death: The Asian Perspective

Hoe Chin Chua
1   Department of Neurology, National Neuroscience Institute, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
Tong Kiat Kwek
2   Department of Anaesthesiology, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
Hirofumi Morihara
3   Department of Neurosurgery, National Neuroscience Institute, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore
Daiquan Gao
4   Department of Neurology, XuanWu Hospital Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
03 April 2015 (online)


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.