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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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EDITORIAL Table of Contents   
Year : 1995  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 385-386
Seoul Declaration on Brain Death, and Membership of Saudi Arabia to the Asian Society of Transplantation


Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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How to cite this article:
Shaheen FA, Souqiyyeh MZ. Seoul Declaration on Brain Death, and Membership of Saudi Arabia to the Asian Society of Transplantation. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 1995;6:385-6

How to cite this URL:
Shaheen FA, Souqiyyeh MZ. Seoul Declaration on Brain Death, and Membership of Saudi Arabia to the Asian Society of Transplantation. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl [serial online] 1995 [cited 2020 Aug 9];6:385-6. Available from: http://www.sjkdt.org/text.asp?1995/6/4/385/40554
Signed by participants from Thailand, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Oman, Iraq and Lebanon a declaration came out during the activities of the Fourth Congress of Asian Society of Transplantation, which was held in Seoul, Korea in August 1995. It reads as follows: "We, the Asian transplantation specialists, strongly request that governments of all Asian countries promptly accept brain death legally based upon the following guidelines, in the hope of improving the level of transplantation medicine in the Asian region:

  1. Brain death by irreversible loss of function of the whole brain as well as death by cardiopulmonary arrest shall be recognized as human death.
  2. Brain death shall only be determined in cases in which treatment extending life would have no meaning or would impair the reverence for life, and where organ donation would afford the recreation of new life.
  3. Rigid criteria for determining brain death shall be established and observed strictly in every relevant country.
  4. Brain death shall only be determined by medical institutions with the capacity, Including facilities and manpower, to fully observe criteria for determining brain death.
  5. The organs of a person declared brain dead shall be transplanted only when all necessary facilities, equipment and manpower are available.


All Asian transplantation specialists here by declare in their names that the above conditions shall apply to pure restoration of human life, regardless of racial, religious or cultural difference, and that illicit dealings in organs shall be thoroughly excluded in all circumstances" [Figure - 1],[Figure - 2].

It is worth mentioning that the recommendations of the declaration have been in practice since the establishment of the Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation SCOT (previously named National Kidney Foundation) in Saudi Arabia, in 1985.

The SCOT depended from the start on the resolution of scholars of Islam about transplantation of organs from the living and cadaveric donors. It reads "Purport of the Senior Ulama Commission Decision No. 99 Dated 06-11-1402 H (1982 G): The board unanimously resolved the permissibility to remove an organ, or a part thereof from a Muslim or non Muslim living person and graft it onto him, should the need arise, should there be no risk in the removal and should the transplantation seem likely successful.

The board also approved, by majority, the following:

a) The permissibility to remove organ or a part thereof from a dead person for the benefit of a Muslem, should the need arise, should the removal be preceded by a consent of the next of kin and should the transplantation seem likely successful.

b) The permissibility for the living person to donate one of his organs or part thereof for the benefit of a Moslem in need thereof".

The concept of brain death has also been recognized and implemented by the scholars of Islam at an international level in their resolution which reads "Resolution of the Council of Islamic Juresprudence on Resuscitation Apparatus Decision No.(5), D3/07/ 1986.

The Council of Islamic Jurisprudence in its third meeting held in Amman, capital of Jordan from 8 to 13 Safar 1407 H corresponding to 11 to 16 October 1986 and after discussing all relevant aspects of resuscitation apparatus and after hearing detailed explanation from specialist doctors, declare the following:

A person is pronounced legally dead and consequently, all dispositions of the Islamic law in case of death apply, if one of the two following conditions has been established:

  1. There is a total cessation of cardiac and respiratory functions, and doctors have judged that such cessation is irreversible.
  2. There is a total cessation of all brain functions and experienced medical specialists doctors have judged that such cessation is irreversible and that brain cells have started to degrade.


In this case, it is permissible to take the person off resuscitation apparatus, even if the heart is still beating".

Saudi Arabia was accepted during the same conference in Seoul as a council member in the Asian society of transplantation due to its outstanding record in organ transplantation during the past ten years. Besides abiding to the ethics of transplantation, the SCOT represents a well organized body of organ transplantation integrating into it a large number of donating hospitals involving intensive care units and emergency services and qualified staff to identify brain death. Also, Saudi Arabia has many diverse organ transplantation centers.

Though Seoul declaration is not an official approval by the governments of the doctors who signed it, it represents a milestone on the way of the increased awareness in many Asian countries of the need of legislations to organize the practice of organ transplantation. We expect the adoption of this declaration by many of the Asian countries in the near future.

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Correspondence Address:
Faissal A.M Shaheen
Consultant Nephrologist & General Director, Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation, P.O. Box 27049, Riyadh 11417
Saudi Arabia
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PMID: 18583744

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