What is Brain Death

  • The complete and irreversible loss of brain and brain stem function.
  • An established medical and legal definition of death.
  • Brain death is death.
  • When the brain is injured, it swells. However, the brain is confined in the skull and has no room to swell, which leads to brain death.
Normal BrainThe above image shows the blood flow inside a normal, active brain. When someone severely injures their brain, the blood flow is cut off or restricted by pressure from the swelling brain.
Dead BrainBrain death occurs when the blood flow to the brain is entirely lost. The photo above is of a brain dead brain. (Images courtesy of Gift of a Lifetime, www.organtransplants.org)