Is donation after cardiac death reducing the brain-dead donor pool in Australia?

Brett Sampson, Gerry O'Callaghan, Graeme Russ

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: Donation after cardiac death (DCD) has increased faster than donation after brain death (DBD) in Australia. However, DBD is the preferred pathway because it provides more organs per donor, the donation process is simpler and transplant outcomes are optimised. Objective: To determine if the increase in DCD has reduced the brain-dead donor pool in Australia. Design, setting and participants: Retrospective analysis of records of organ donors (intended and actual) with brain injury as the cause of death from 2001 to 2011 in Australian intensive care units. Main outcome measures: Change in median ventilation period, over time, before brain-death determination in DBD donors (as DCD increased); a decreased median ventilation period in DBD donors being consistent with the conversion of DBD to DCD. Results: As DCD (n = 311) increased, the median ventilation period in DBD donors (n = 2218) did not fall overall (P = 0.83), in all jurisdictions (P > 0.25) and for all causes of death (P > 0.3). The proportion of patients ventilated for less than 2 days was unchanged over time in both DBD (P =1) and DCD (P=0.99). The overall ventilation period in DCD donors (3.8 days; interquartile range [IQR], 2.1-6.3 days), exceeded the ventilation period in DBD donors (1.3 days; IQR, 1.0-2.4 days; P < 0.0001). DCD ventilation period was significantly longer in all jurisdictions, for all causes of death and annually (P < 0.05). Conclusions: In Australia, brain-injured donors appear to be ventilated long enough to allow progression to brain death before proceeding to DCD. Therefore, DCD is unlikely to have reduced the brain-dead donor pool.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)21-27
    Number of pages7
    JournalCritical Care and Resuscitation
    Volume15
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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