Intensivist-led management of brain-dead donors is associated with an increase in organ recovery for transplantation

Am J Transplant. 2011 Jul;11(7):1517-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-6143.2011.03485.x. Epub 2011 Mar 30.


The disparity between the number of patients in need of organ transplantation and the number of available organs is steadily rising. We hypothesized that intensivist-led management of brain dead donors would increase the number of organs recovered for transplantation. We retrospectively analyzed data from all consented adult brain dead patients in the year before (n = 35) and after (n = 43) implementation of an intensivist-led donor management program. Donor characteristics before and after implementation were similar. After implementation of the organ donor support team, the overall number of organs recovered for transplantation increased significantly (66 out of 210 potentially available organs vs. 113 out of 258 potentially available organs, p = 0.008). This was largely due to an increase in the number of lungs (8 out of 70 potentially available lungs vs. 21 out of 86 potentially available lungs; p = 0.039) and kidneys (31 out of 70 potentially available kidneys vs. 52 out of 86 potentially available kidneys; p = 0.044) recovered for transplantation. The number of hearts and livers recovered for transplantation did not change significantly. Institution of an intensivist-led organ donor support team may be a new and viable strategy to increase the number of organs available for transplantations.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Death
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement* / methods
  • Transplants / statistics & numerical data*