Donation after Cardiac Death (DCD) is an increasingly important source of kidney transplants, but because of concerns of ischemic injury during the agonal phase, many centers abandon donation if cardiorespiratory arrest has not occurred within 1 h of controlled withdrawal of life-supporting treatment (WLST). We report the impact on donor numbers and transplant function using instead a minimum 'cut-off' time of 4 h. The agonal phase of 173 potential DCD donors was characterized according to the presence or absence of: acidemia; lactic acidosis; prolonged (>30 min) hypotension, hypoxia or oliguria, and the impact of these characteristics on 3- and 12-month transplant outcome evaluated by multivariable regression analysis. Of the 117 referrals who became donors, 27 (23.1%) arrested more than 1 h after WLST. Longer agonal-phase times were associated with greater donor instability, but surprisingly neither agonal-phase instability nor its duration influenced transplant outcome. In contrast, 3- and 12-month eGFR in the 190 transplanted kidneys was influenced independently by donor age, and 3-month eGFR by cold ischemic time. DCD kidney numbers are increased by 30%, without compromising transplant outcome, by lengthening the minimum waiting time after WLST from 1 to 4 h.
©2011 The Authors Journal compilation©2011 The American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons.