Donor Conversion and Procurement Failure: The Fate of Our Potential Organ Donors
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- Branco, B.C., Inaba, K., Lam, L. et al. World J Surg (2011) 35: 440. doi:10.1007/s00268-010-0870-0
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Donor availability remains the primary limiting factor for organ transplantation today. The purpose of this study was to examine the causes of procurement failure amongst potential organ donors.
After Institutional Review Board approval, all surgical intensive care unit (SICU) patients admitted to the LAC + USC Medical Center from 01/2006 to 12/2008 who became potential organ donors were identified. Demographics, clinical data, and procurement data were abstracted. In non-donors, the causes of procurement failure were documented.
During the 3-year study period, a total of 254 patients were evaluated for organ donation. Mean age was 44.8 ± 18.7 years; 191 (75.2%) were male, 136 (53.5%) were Hispanic, and 148 (58.3%) were trauma patients. Of the 254 patients, 116 (45.7%) were not eligible for donation: 34 had multi-system organ failure, 24 did not progress to brain death and had support withdrawn, 18 had uncontrolled sepsis, 15 had malignancy, 6 had human immunodeficiency virus or hepatitis B or C, and 19 patients had other contraindications to organ donation. Of the remaining 138 eligible patients, 83 (60.2%) did not donate: 56 because the family denied consent, 9 by their own choice. In six, next of kin could not be located, five died because of hemodynamic instability before organ procurement was possible, four had organs that could not be placed, and three had their organs declined by the organ procurement organization. The overall consent rate was 57.5% (n = 67). From the 55 donors, 255 organs were procured (yield 4.6 organs/donor).
Of all patients screened for organ donation, only a fifth actually donated. Denial of consent was the major potentially preventable cause of procurement failure, whereas hemodynamic instability accounted for only a small percentage of donor losses. With such low conversion rates, the preventable causes of procurement failure warrant further study.