Potential for liver and kidney donation after circulatory death in infants and children

Paul M. Shore, Rong Huang, Lonnie Roy, Cindy Darnell, Heather Grein, Tammy Robertson, Lisa Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To determine the potential effect of organ donation after circulatory death (DCD) on the number of kidney and liver donors in a PICU. PATIENTS AND METHODS: All deaths in the PICU of an academic, tertiary care children's hospital from May 1996 to April 2007 were retrospectively reviewed. Patient demographics, premortem physiology, and end-of-life circumstances were recorded and compared with basic criteria for potential organ donation. A sensitivity analysis was performed to examine the effect of more strict physiologic and time criteria as well as 3 different rates of consent for donation. RESULTS: There were 1389 deaths during 11 years; 634 children (46%) underwent withdrawal of life support, of whom 518 had complete data and were analyzed. There were 131 children (25% of those withdrawn, 9% of all deaths) who met basic physiologic and time criteria for organ donation (80 kidney; 107 liver). Consideration of consent rates in sensitivity analysis resulted in an estimated 24 to 85 organ donors, an increase of 28% to 99% over the 86 actual brain-dead donors during the same time period. Assuming historical rates of organ recovery, these DCD donors might have produced 30 to 88 additional kidneys and 8 to 56 additional livers, an increase of 21% to 60% in kidney donation and 13% to 80% in livers above the number of organs recovered from brain-dead donors. CONCLUSIONS: Although relatively few children may have been eligible for DCD, they might have increased the number of organ donors from our institution, depending greatly on consent rates. DCD merits additional discussion and exploration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e631-e638
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • DCD
  • Donation after cardiac death
  • End-of-life
  • Medical ethics
  • Non-heart-beating organ donation
  • Organ donation
  • Organ transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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