The 1980 Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA) provides comprehensive bases for determining death in all situations. The Uniform Law Commission indicates that 40 of 56 jurisdictions have adopted the UDDA. But the remaining 16 jurisdictions have adopted substantially similar rules judicially or legislatively.
Part (1) codifies the existing common law basis for determining death B total failure of the cardiorespiratory system. Part (2) extends the common law to include the new procedures for determination of death based upon irreversible loss of all brain functions. The overwhelming majority of cases will continue to be determined according to Part (1). When artificial means of support preclude a determination under part (1), the Act recognizes that death can be determined by the alternative procedures.
Under part (2), the entire brain must cease to function, irreversibly. The “entire brain” includes the brain stem, as well as the neocortex. The concept of “entire brain” distinguishes determination of death under the Act from “neocortical death” or “persistent vegetative state.” These are not deemed valid medical or legal bases for determining death.
The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) has collected links to each state's brain death law.
In 2017, Nevada became the most recent state to amend its UDDA. The American Academy of Neurology recommends that other states enact similar language to clarify (1) which guidelines are authoritative and (2) that consent is not required to admonister diagnostic testing.