J Korean Med Sci.  2006 Jun;21(3):588-590. 10.3346/jkms.2006.21.3.588.

Reflex Movements in Patients with Brain Death: A Prospective Study in A Tertiary Medical Center

  • 1Department of Neurology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. kyjung@smc.samsung.co.kr


Reflex movements have been reported to occur in up to 75% of brain-dead patients, but this issue has not been addressed in Korea. The patients admitted to our hospital who met the criteria for brain death were enrolled between March 2003 and February 2005. The frequency and type of reflex movements in these patients were evaluated prospectively using a standardized protocol. Brain death was determined according to the guideline of Korean Medical Association. Of 26 patients who were included, five (19.2%) exhibited reflex movements such as the pronation-extension reflex, abdominal reflex, flexion reflex, the Lazarus sign, and periodic leg movements. This finding suggests that the frequency of spinal reflex movements is not rare and the awareness of these movements may prevent delays in brain-dead diagnosis and misinterpretations.


Brain Death; Reflex, Abnormal; Organ Transplantation
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