What is the potential increase in the heart graft pool by cardiac donation after circulatory death?

Transpl Int. 2013 Jan;26(1):61-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.2012.01575.x. Epub 2012 Oct 18.


Heart transplantation remains the only definite treatment option for end-stage heart diseases. The use of hearts procured after donation after circulatory death (DCD) could help decrease the heart graft shortage. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential increase in heart graft pool by developing DCD heart transplantation. We retrospectively reviewed our local donor database from 2006 to 2011, and screened the complete controlled DCD donor population for potential heart donors, using the same criteria as for donation after brain death (DBD) heart transplantation. Acceptable donation warm ischemic time (DWIT) was limited to 30 min. During this period 177 DBD and 70 DCD were performed. From the 177 DBD, a total of 70 (39.5%) hearts were procured and transplanted. Of the 70 DCD, eight (11%) donors fulfilled the criteria for heart procurement with a DWIT of under 30 min. Within the same period, 82 patients were newly listed for heart transplantation, of which 53 were transplanted, 20 died or were unlisted, and 9 were waiting. It could be estimated that 11% of the DCD might be heart donors, representing a 15% increase in heart transplant activity, as well as potential reduction in the deaths on the waiting list by 40%.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Heart Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement*
  • Waiting Lists