Incidence of brain death in the United States

Ali Seifi, John Vincent Lacci, Daniel Agustin Godoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objectives: The epidemiological analysis of brain death (BD) can assist physicians in their development of relevant guidelines regarding training and action protocols. This study aims to find the incidence of BD in the United States. Patients and Methods: This is a cross-sectional study between 2012 and 2016 in the United States. BD data were extracted from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) and compared with those of all in-hospital Cardio-Pulmonary Deaths (ih-CPD). Results: There were 69,735 BD (0.039%) and 3,309,955 ih-CPD (1.85%) with one BD for every fifty ih-CPD. The number of BD increased from 12,575 in 2012 to 15,405 in 2016 (p < 0.0001), with an average of 39 BD per 100,000 discharges and a mean age of 47.83 ± 20.93 years old. Both groups were mainly male and ethnically white; however blacks had the highest rate of BD per capita (p < 0.0001). The most frequently reported cause for BD was the Central Nervous System diseases (50.17%). Conclusions: In recent years, the incidence of BD has increased in the United States. Knowing the incidence of BD and the establishment of long-term programs that raise awareness about BD may increase the number of potential organ donors in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105885
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Brain death
  • In-hospital cardio-pulmonary death
  • Incidence of brain death
  • Organ transplant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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