Impact of donor cause of death on transplant outcomes: UNOS registry analysis

Transplant Proc. 2009 Nov;41(9):3539-44. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2009.06.192.


Donor cause of death (DCOD) has been described to influence allograft survival. Whether this effect is independent of other donor characteristics and whether it is similar across different solid organ allografts is not known. The aim of our study was to determine the impact of DCOD on organ utilization and on transplantation outcomes-graft rejection, function, and survival. The registry data were provided by the United Network for Organ Sharing/Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network. Stroke, head trauma, and anoxia were the cause of brain death in 97% of the more than 86,000 donors whose data were recorded between 1989 and 2008. In univariate analysis, stroke DCOD was associated with worse graft survival across all organs. After adjustment in a multivariable analysis, modest differences persisted in survival of heart, kidney, and liver allografts. DCOD also appeared to affect the incidence of allograft rejection. Anoxia DCOD was associated with significantly less rejection relative to donor death caused by head trauma and stroke. In summary, this multi-institutional study confirms that DCOD is a modest predictor of survival and rejection of solid organ allografts of different types.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cause of Death*
  • Central Nervous System Neoplasms / mortality
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / mortality
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection
  • Graft Survival
  • Heart Transplantation / mortality
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / mortality
  • Kidney Transplantation / mortality
  • Liver Transplantation / mortality
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality
  • Registries
  • Stroke / mortality
  • Tissue Donors / statistics & numerical data
  • Transplantation / mortality*
  • Transplantation, Homologous / mortality*
  • United States