The findings may be helpful for developing treatment strategies of cardiac arrest and stroke that may complement efforts to reestablish circulation, and also inform the debate of organ donation after cardio-circulatory death, where death is declared between two and ten minutes following the cessation of circulatory function.
‘After circulatory arrest, spreading depolarization marks the loss of stored electrochemical energy in brain cells and the onset of toxic processes that eventually lead to death.’
"After circulatory arrest, spreading depolarization marks the loss of stored electrochemical energy in brain cells and the onset of toxic processes that eventually lead to death. Importantly, it is reversible - up to a point - when the circulation is restored," said lead author Dr. Jens Dreier, of Universitätsmedizin Berlin, in Germany.
"There are no direct implications for patient care today. Particular challenges include the slowness of this wave that hampers its visibility in normal EEG recordings; however, this discovery may lead to improved diagnostic and treatment procedures in the future, following Max Planck's motto that 'insight must precede application'."