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J Nucl Med. 1987 Aug;28(8):1279-83.

Scintigraphic evaluation of brain death: significance of sagittal sinus visualization.


Radiotracer scintigraphy has been commonly used in this country to confirm and document the clinical diagnosis of brain death. Whether the presence of radiotracer activity in the region of sagittal venous sinus (SVS) represents actual blood flow to the brain in the absence of demonstrable cerebral arterial flow remains a controversial issue. Our retrospective study was performed to review the significance of such sagittal tracer activity. Of the 53 patients showing no cerebral arterial flow, 26 showed tracer activity in the region of SVS. The clinical status, EEG findings, and outcome of all 53 patients were the same irrespective of the presence or absence of SVS tracer activity. We conclude that the mere presence of SVS in the absence of demonstrable cerebral arterial flow activity is not clinically significant and does not contradict the diagnosis of brain death.

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