Clinical Vs Biological Death

Welcome to medical advice channel, in todays article we will be discussing the differences between clinical death and biological death. Remember to subscribe to our newsletter to the first to know when a new article drops.

Clinical death vs Biological Death.

Before discussing Clinical vs Biological death, let us look at each of the terms individually to get a better understanding.

Clinical death

is defined as the period of respiratory, circulatory and brain arrest during which initiation of resuscitation can lead to recovery. Clinical death is therefore reversible. It usually begins with either the last agonal inhalation or the last cardiac contraction.
Indications of clinical death are;

• Absence of Pulse or blood pressure and is completely responsiveness to the most painful stimulus.

“Clinical vs Biological Death”

Biological Death

This is a sure sign of death. Biological death sets in after clinical death and is an irreversible state
of cellular destruction. It manifests with irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory
functions, or cessation of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem. This type of death is irreversible

From the above, you can note the differences between Clinical and Biological death. One should NOTE that there are universal criteria to certify Biological Death.

criteria to certify Biological Death.
  • Simultaneous onset of apnoea and unconsciousness.
  • There is an absence of circulation that is irreversible leading to cardiac arrest.

How to examine for Biological death;

When asked to examine, you can use a systematic A to E approach:

  • Airway / Breathing.
    • There will be no respiratory effort and no audible breath sounds.
    • We do this by Auscultation for more than a minute.
  • Circulation – Auscultate for the heart. Also, palpate for a pulse for more than a minute.
    • There will be no palpable pulse nor an audible heart sound.
  • Check for a pupillary response and any motor response to stimuli, for example, pain.
    • The pupils are fixed, dilated and unresponsive to light.
    • The patient will also be peripherally cold. This will depend on the timing of the examination.

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