Ugeskr Læger 2018;180:V03180189
Death criteria – now and in the future
Death can be pronounced on both circulatory and brain criteria. In both cases, irreversible loss of brain function is essential in understanding finale death, as irreversible loss of breathing – a brainstem function – is mandatory. Brain function ceases irreversibly as a consequence of lack of blood supply to the brain, caused by circulatory arrest or by raised intracranial pressure. Brain function is central in death, which must be reflected in a future death criterion, stated in WHO´s new death criterion based on irreversible loss of capacity for consciousness and loss of brainstem function.