, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 456-465
Date: 22 May 2012

Critical Care of the Potential Organ Donor

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Abstract

Organ transplantation represents one of the great success stories of 20th century medicine. However, its continued success is greatly limited by the shortage of donor organs. This has led to an increased focus within the critical care community on optimal identification and management of the potential organ donor. The multi-organ donor can represent one of the most complex intensive care patients, with numerous competing physiological priorities. However, appropriate management of the donor not only increases the number of organs that can be successfully donated but has long-term implications for the outcomes of multiple recipients. This review outlines current understandings of the physiological derangements seen in the organ donor and evaluates the available evidence for management strategies designed to optimize donation potential and organ recovery. Finally, emerging management strategies for the potential donor are discussed within the current ethical and legal frameworks permitting donation after both brain and circulatory death.