When Is “Dead” really dead? What Science Says Happens After A Person Flatlines

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The existential question that haunts humanity continues to be: what happens to a person after they die? While we may never be able to come to a conclusion about the certainty of an afterlife, scientists have been performing groundbreaking experiments that could change our understanding of death.

The cycle of human physical life begins with birth and ends with death. Tomorrow is never promised, and while every human knows that death is always creeping around every corner, scientists have been stuck on the question of: how do we know when someone is truly “dead”?

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A Recent Study On Death

A person is typically pronounced dead once they experience flatline, which indicates that there is no longer energy active within a human heart. However, a study conducted on 631 dying patients from Canada, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands have allowed doctors to understand the dying process better.

A heart rate monitor in a hospital room.
Jair Lazaro / Unsplash
Jair Lazaro / Unsplash

Using advanced technology, the heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygenation level, and respiratory patterns were examined during these individuals’ time of death. Observing the possibility of heart activity returning after one minute of flatline has created some interesting conclusions that answer: What happens when a person is dead before their heart stops working?