Noninvasive and sensitive optical assessment of brain death

Boan Pan, Chong Huang, Xiang Fang, Xiaobo Huang, Ting Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Brain death is an irreversible loss of all brain functions, and the assessment is crucial for organ supply for transplantation. The noninvasive, sensitive, universally available and timely ancillary method to assess brain death has not been established. Here, we attempted to explore a noninvasive way in brain death assessment. Eighteen brain-dead patients and 20 healthy subjects were measured by near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), with a multiple-phase protocol at varied fraction of inspired O 2 (FIO 2 ). We found that the concentration changes ratios of oxyhemoglobin to deoxyhemoglobin (Δ[HbO 2 ]/Δ[Hb]) in the cerebral cortex of brain-dead patients were significantly higher than those of healthy subjects. And, the Δ[HbO 2 ]/Δ[Hb] in low-to-high FIO 2 phase was most sensitive to distinguish brain-dead patients from healthy subjects, with a recommended threshold ranged in 1.40~1.50. The innovative incorporation of NIRS and a varied FIO 2 protocol was shown to be a noninvasive and reliable way in assessing brain death. This successful attempt of NIRS application is a help for fast and accurate evaluation of brain death, promptly offering quality-assured donor organs and indicate us a protocol-aided way to expand the use of NIRS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere201800240
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim


  • brain death
  • fraction of inspired O
  • near-infrared spectroscopy
  • oxy-/deoxy-hemoglobin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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