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Donation after circulatory determination of death in western Canada: a multicentre study of donor characteristics and critical care practices

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Donation after circulatory determination of death in western Canada: a multicentre study of donor characteristics and critical care practices

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Andreas H. Kramer MD, Kerry Holliday MSW, Sean Keenan MD, George Isac MD, Demetrios J. Kutsogiannis MD, Norman M. Kneteman MD, Adrian Robertson MD, Peter Nickerson MD & Lee Anne Tibbles MD 

Abstract

Purpose

Donation after circulatory determination of death (DCD) has been performed in Canada since 2006. Numerous aspects of donor management remain controversial.

Methods

We performed a multicentre cohort study involving potential DCD donors in western Canada (2008–2017), as well as recipients of their organs, to describe donor characteristics and critical care practices, and their relation to one-year recipient and graft survival.

Results

There were 257 patients in four provinces that underwent withdrawal of life-sustaining therapies (WLST) in anticipation of possible DCD. The proportion of patients that died within two hours of WLST ranged from 67% to 88% across provinces (P = 0.06), and was predicted by deeper coma (P = 0.01), loss of pupillary light or corneal reflexes (P = 0.02), and vasopressor use (P = 0.01). There were significant differences between provinces in time intervals from onset of hypotension to death (9–11 min; P = 0.02) and death to vascular cannulation (7–10 min; P < 0.001). There was inconsistency in pre-mortem heparin administration (82–96%; P = 0.03), including timing (before vs after WLST; P < 0.001) and dose (≥ 300 vs < 300 units·kg−1; P < 0.001). Donation after circulatory death provided organs for 321 kidney, 81 liver, and 50 lung transplants. One-year recipient and graft survival did not differ among provinces (range 85–90%, P = 0.45). Predictors of death or graft failure included older recipient age (odds ratio [OR] per year, 1.04; 95% confidence interval [CI],1.01 to 1.07) and male donor sex (OR, 3.35; 95% CI, 1.39 to 8.09), but not time intervals between WLST and cannulation or practices related to heparin use.

Conclusion

There is significant variability in critical care DCD practices in western Canada, but this has not resulted in significant differences in recipient or graft survival. Further research is required to guide optimal management of potential DCD donors.

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Year 2020
Language English
Format PDF
DOI 10.1007/s12630-020-01594-8