End of life care in the operating room for non-heart-beating donors: organization at the University Hospital of Liège

Transplant Proc. 2011 Nov;43(9):3441-4. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2011.09.034.


Non-heart-beating (NHB) organ donation has become an alternative source to increase organ supply for transplantation. A NHB donation program was implemented in our institution in 2002. As in many institutions the end of life care of the NHB donor (NHBD) is terminated in the operating room (OR) to reduce warm ischemia time. Herein we have described the organization of end of life care for these patients in our institution, including the problems addressed, the solution proposed, and the remaining issues. Emphasis is given to our protocol elaborated with the different contributors of the chain of the NHB donation program. This protocol specifies the information mandatory in the medical records, the end of life care procedure, the determination of death, and the issue of organ preservation measures before NHBD death. The persisting malaise associated with NHB donation reported by OR nurses is finally documented using an anonymous questionnaire.

MeSH terms

  • Belgium
  • Heart Arrest
  • Humans
  • Operating Room Nursing / methods
  • Operating Rooms
  • Organ Preservation / methods
  • Patient Selection
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Terminal Care / methods*
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / ethics
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / methods*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / organization & administration
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / trends*
  • Universities
  • Warm Ischemia