2000 Volume 11 Issue 7 Pages 338-344
Case: An 11-month-old boy bruised his head and experienced convulsions, followed by a coma with decerebrate rigidity. Initial CT scans showed an acute interhemispheric subdural hematoma and diffuse brain swelling. On day 2, he developed dilated pupils, absent light reflex, and sudden hypotension. Dopamine (DOA) and antidiuretic hormone (ADH) were administered to maintain his circulation. CT scans on day 3 revealed brain tamponade. The patient was diagnosed as brain dead on day 15. The patient was thereafter maintained under mechanical ventilation. DOA and ADH requirements decreased gradually, resulting in shift from DOA to docarpamine on day 146 and in the cessation of ADH administration on day 245. On day 139, autolysed brain parenchyma was discharged through the anterior fontanel and necrotic skin, resulting in the appearance of pneumocephalus on CT scans on day 299. Repeated EEGs, ABRs, dynamic CTs and intracranial Power Dopplers supported the diagnosis of brain death. Nevertheless, the patient's height increased consistently from 74cm on day 1 to 82cm on day 253. The secretion of thyroid stimulating hormone was detected until day 252. The boy developed septic renal failure and died on Day 326. Discussion and Conclusion: Although brain death in adults is usually followed by early cardiac arrest, the infant in this case was sustained in a state of brain death for over 300 days using ordinary intensive care. An analysis of endocrinological function and growth records may help to clarify the mechanism of the patient's sustained heart beat.