, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 103-110
Date: 21 Oct 2009

How I Manage the Adult Potential Organ Donor: Donation After Neurological Death (Part 1)

Abstract

The need for organ donation has become a growing concern over that last decade as the gap between organ donors and those awaiting transplant widens. According to UNOS, as of 8/2009, there were 102,962 patients on the transplant waiting list and only 6,004 donors in 2009 (UNOS.org. Accessed 4/8/2009). In 2008, an estimated 17 patients died each day awaiting transplant (OPTN.org). Though currently most organ donations come after brain death (DND or donation after neurological death), tissue donation (cornea, skin, bone, and musculoskeletal tissue), and donation after cardiac death (DCD) and are also possible. The term “extended criteria donor” refers to potential donors over 60 years of age or age 50–59 years plus 2 of the 3 following criteria: stroke as the cause of death, creatnine > 1.5 meq/dl, or a history of hypertension. Historically, extended criteria donors have had a lower organ yield per donor. In order to preserve the choice of organ donation for the family, intensive management of the potential organ donor is necessary. Since each potential donor could save seven lives or more, nihilism in the care of such patients can have far reaching ramifications. This article describes intensive care management practices that can optimize organ donation.