Skip to main content

Brain Death Determination Course - English

While there exists a legal provision for brain death, or death by neurologic criteria (BD/DNC), institutional protocols for diagnosis are not universal and are often absent; no specific criteria for diagnosis is mandated. Even among institutions with an organized diagnostic protocol, there is substantial variation both in the criteria used and who may perform the determination. Please refer to your hospital’s (and state’s) policies and protocols when performing a BD/DNC determination at your hospital.

The Brain Death Determination course, presented by the Neurocritical Care Society, aims to standardize the process of brain death diagnosis. This credentialing tool will help those clinicians who are allowed by their local laws to perform brain death determination to learn and demonstrate their level of understanding and expertise by:
  • Highlighting the necessary steps that must be taken to determine brain death
  • Reviewing meticulous examination methods, including apnea testing, understanding the role of ancillary testing, and discussing proper documentation
  • Understanding the updated guidance from the 2023 AAN/AAP/SCCM/CNS guidelines, including special circumstances such as ECMO, pregnancy, primary posterior fossa injury and others
  • Outlining helpful communication approaches with fellow providers and families
  • Describing common pitfalls and barriers that may arise during the determination process

This course is accredited for 2 hours of continuing education. It includes a video 1 hour in length, and a 25-question exam at the completion of the video. Once the video has been watched and the exam passed with a score of 100% (unlimited retakes allowed), participants will be granted a certificate of completion.

The American Academy of Neurology has endorsed this education course.

This course was created and presented by:

  • David M. Greer, MD
  • Matthew Kirschen, MD, PhD
  • Ariane K. Lewis, MD
  • Michael Rubin, MD
  • Panayiotis Varelas, MD
Claiming CE Credit Requirements (click to view)
The learner must review the entire module, the posttest, and the evaluation. Certification is achieved only when the post test is passed with a passing score of 100%. Full completion of this activity takes approximately 2 hours.
Upon successful completion of the module posttest and evaluation, a certificate will be generated. You will have the option to download the Certificate for your records, and it will also continue to be available within your profile.
NCS provides certification information to the accreditd provider on a monthly basis.
All content is the copyrighted material of the ©2019 Neurocritical Care Society.

Hardware / Software Requirements (click to view)
  • An internet connection speed of at least 4Mbps and a modern browser
  • Modern browsers have a built in PDF reader which would be necessary for you to view your completion certificates
CME INFORMATION (click to view)
Release Date: September 1, 2019
Last Review Date: September 1, 2022
Expiration Date: September 1, 2025
Target Audience (click to view)
This activity was designed for clinicians who are allowed by their local laws to perform brain death determination. It is appropriate for a spectrum of learning levels from trainee to advanced learner.

Objectives (click to view)
At the end of this activity, learners should be able to:
  • Explain the necessary steps that must be taken to determine brain death
  • Describe various exam methods and discussing proper documentation
  • Outline appropriate communication with fellow providers and patient families
  • Describe common pitfalls and barriers that may arise during the exam process
Activity Goal (click to view)
This activity is designed to address the following core and team competencies: Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Practice-based Learning, Employ Evidenced-based Practice, Values and Ethics, and Cultural and Organizational.

Disclosures (click to view)
The accredited provider adheres to accreditation requirements regarding industry support of continuing medical education. Disclosure of the planning committee and faculty's commercial relationships will be made known at the activity. Speakers are required to openly disclose any limitations of data and/or any discussion of any off-label, experimental, or investigational uses of drugs or devices in their presentations.
All accredited provider employees and Neurocritical Care Society members in control of content have indicated that they have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.
The following content contributors have indicated that they have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Disclosed Relationships (click to view)
Disclosed relationships will be displayed here, upon receipt.
Non-Endorsement Statement (click to view)
The accredited provider verifies that sound education principles have been demonstrated in the development of this educational offering as evidenced by the review of its objectives, teaching plan, faculty, and activity evaluation process. The accredited provider does not endorse or support the actual opinions or material content as presented by the speaker(s) and/or sponsoring organization.

Accreditation (click to view)
In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by Cine-Med, Gladwell CME and the Neurocritical Care Society. Cine-Med is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Physicians (click to view)
Ciné-Med designates this enduring material for a maximum of 2 AMA PRA Category 1Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Commercial Support (click to view)

*Access to this course is valid for 2 years from the date of purchase.

**Note: This course is best viewed in Google Chrome. 

Click here to view the NCS Brain Death Toolkit, an excellent companion to this course. Included in the free toolkit are sample check lists, FAQs for providers, FAQs for families, and more.

Please click here to view the NCS Legal Disclaimer for the Brain Death Determination Course.