Kidney donation after circulatory death (DCD): state of the art

Kidney Int. 2015 Aug;88(2):241-9. doi: 10.1038/ki.2015.88. Epub 2015 Mar 18.


The use of kidneys from controlled donation after circulatory death (DCD) donors has the potential to markedly increase kidney transplants performed. However, this potential is not being realized because of concerns that DCD kidneys are inferior to those from donation after brain-death (DBD) donors. The United Kingdom has developed a large and successful controlled DCD kidney transplant program that has allowed for a substantial increase in kidney transplant numbers. Here we describe recent trends in DCD kidney donor activity in the United Kingdom, outline aspects of the donation process, and describe donor selection and allocation of DCD kidneys. Previous UK Transplant Registry analyses have shown that while DCD kidneys are more susceptible to cold ischemic injury and have a higher incidence of delayed graft function, short- and medium-term transplant outcomes are similar in recipients of kidneys from DCD and DBD donors. We present an updated, extended UK registry analysis showing that longer-term transplant outcomes in DCD donor kidneys are also similar to those for DBD donor kidneys, and that transplant outcomes for kidneys from expanded-criteria DCD donors are no less favorable than for expanded-criteria DBD donors. Accordingly, the selection criteria for use of kidneys from DCD donors should be the same as those used for DBD donors. The UK experience suggests that wider international development of DCD kidney transplantation programs will help address the global shortage of deceased donor kidneys for transplantation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Brain Death
  • Cold Ischemia
  • Delayed Graft Function / etiology
  • Donor Selection / standards
  • Donor Selection / trends
  • Graft Survival
  • Heart Arrest*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Kidney Transplantation*
  • Preoperative Period
  • Registries
  • Survival Rate
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / methods*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / standards*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement / trends
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom