Anybody Know A Coroner?


Or a forensic examiner? Got into a little debate with one of our trauma surgeons about the cause of cardiac arrest in a patient with a gunshot wound to the head. I said they respiratory arrest from herniation and this causes a hypoxemic cardiac arrest: ie, destroying the brain doesn’t make the heart stop beating. Would love to get a medical examiner’s perspective, if you know of one. Thanks!

  1. #1 by shadowfax MD - January 13th, 2011 at 11:29

    But they often die also even if ventilated, so that is less likely. My experience is as brainstem compression worsens, the patient becomes more and more bradycardic before flatlining. If unventilated, the hypoxia will precede/exacerbate this. But if you lose your brainstem the heart will stop all on its own, in time.

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