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Brazil: New Rules Update the Criteria to Define Brain Death

(Dec. 15, 2017) On December 12, 2017, the Brazilian Federal Council of Medicine (Conselho Federal de Medicina, CFM) updated the criteria for the definition of brain death, which can now be diagnosed by more specialists in addition to neurologists. The new criteria established in Resolution CFM No. 2,173/17 (not yet available online) meets the requirements of Law No. 9,434, which provides for the removal of organs, tissues, and parts of the human body for transplant or treatment and regulates organ transplants in Brazil. (Law No. 9,434 of February 4, 1997, PLANALTO; Decree No. 9,175 of October 18, 2017, PLANALTO.)

According to article 3 of Law 9,434, the removal of tissues, organs, or parts of the human body intended for transplant or treatment should be preceded by a diagnosis of brain death, as evidenced by two nonparticipating physicians of the removal and transplant teams, through the use of clinical and technological criteria defined by CFM. (Id.) In addition to the clinical examination, which should be performed by two different physicians, with a minimum interval of one hour between the first and the second examinations, the patient should undergo an apnea test and other, complementary tests. (CFM Atualiza Resolução com Critérios de Diagnóstico de Morte Encefálica [CFM Updates Resolution with Diagnostic Criteria for Brain Death], CFM (Dec. 12, 2107).)