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The “5-minute rule”: the exact moment of death is set

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Scientists observed patients,who had a cardiac arrest and found that death can be definitively stated in 4 minutes and 20 seconds.

A group of international scientists conducted a study in 20 intensive care units in three countries. The observation of nearly 500 patients allowed researchers to establish the final moment of death, writes the New England Journal of Medicine.

Experts watched people who had heart failure. It was possible to establish that death can be definitively stated in 4 minutes and 20 seconds.

Among physicians, the “five minute rule” is practiced. It is believed that if during this time the patient could not be returned to life after his or her heart stopped beating, then the death of the person can be ascertained.

This principle was tested by specialists in medical institutions, where they screened 1999 patients, out of which, 631 patients were included in the study.

Retrospective analysis of ECG and blood-pressure waveforms carried out on 480 patients within half an hour after the cessation of their cardiac activity, it turned out that in 67 patients (14%), a short heart rate was restored, but the patients still died. Mostly the heart was able to “run” a minute or two after the first stop.

As a result, the final moment of death was established – 4 minutes 20 seconds.

Scientists have confirmed the rule of “five minutes”. Separately, it is noted that this principle turned out to be effective for patients connected to life support devices.

This information is important when a person has agreed to a post-mortem transplant of their organs. In this case, the biomaterial is taken only after the final ascertaining of death. After all, even after the heartbeat stops, other human organs can still work and maintain the vital activity of the body.

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