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from Latin: supra - above, beyond; vitalis - living
German: Supravitalphase

1 Definition

Supravitality is the period during which certain organs or tissues are still intact even after irreversible ischemia. The term is used in forensic medicine and thanatology.

2 Background

Following the irreversible loss of function of the brain (brain death), the different organs and tissues will give up their function one after another. Due to the fact that organs retain certain amounts of energy sources they can maintain their function or the function of individual cells for some time, even after brain death. Those supravital functions include (electrically stimulated) muscle contraction as much as 20 hours after death. The time until the last cell dies depends on the specific organ.

Organ Survival time
Bone, Cartilage ~ 30 hours
Kidney ~ 2 hours
Heart ~ 15 minutes

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