gms | German Medical Science

63rd Annual Meeting of the German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)
Joint Meeting with the Japanese Neurosurgical Society (JNS)

German Society of Neurosurgery (DGNC)

13 - 16 June 2012, Leipzig

Teaching the concept of brain death in undergraduate medical education

Meeting Abstract

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  • M. Holling - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Münster
  • W. Stummer - Klinik für Neurochirurgie, Universitätsklinikum Münster
  • H. Friedrichs - Studienhospital der Medizinischen Fakultät Münster, Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Japanische Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. 63. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (DGNC), Joint Meeting mit der Japanischen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie (JNS). Leipzig, 13.-16.06.2012. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2012. DocP 006

doi: 10.3205/12dgnc394, urn:nbn:de:0183-12dgnc3949

Published: June 4, 2012

© 2012 Holling et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Objective: To establish and evaluate a new approach to teach medical students on how to assess brain death in patients.

Methods: 120 4th year medical students of the Medical School Münster (Germany) participated in a 1-hour lecture on how to assess brain death in patients. After this lecture, students were assigned to two groups. One group attended an additional practical course on the evaluation of brain death and was trained using a new high-fidelity simulation device that had been designed for this purpose. The other group did not participate in such additional training session. A questionnaire was filled out by all students before the lecture and afterwards, either after having participated in the additional training course or not.

Results: The additional practical training session significantly improved the students' performance in assessing brain death and supported self-assessment and motivation of the medical students.

Conclusions: By establishing a new practical teaching concept, medical students showed significant improvements in assessing brain death in a practical session. These improvements in medical education could have significant implications for the clinical assessment of patients in future.