March 19, 2012

Lazarus' sign

Lazarus' sign is one of these signs that you just have to know because it is just so perversely stunning. Basically it is a corticospinal reflex in the brain dead where the patient (or it's body) will flex both arms as if he was grasping after some object or even trying to 'give a hug', scaring the hell out of family members or inexperienced personnel. BTW, Lazarus's sign is *not* the same as decorticate or decerebrate reflex.

Today I heard a story from a college who was doing the apnea test to confirm a patients' brain death and while bending over to auscultate the heart, the patient performed the Lazarus' reflex and seemingly hugged the doctor while showing no other signs of life.