Living donor program crisis management plans: Current landscape and talking point recommendations

Am J Transplant. 2020 Feb;20(2):546-552. doi: 10.1111/ajt.15618. Epub 2019 Oct 28.


Although minimized by expert evaluation, operative technique, and postoperative care, the extremely low risk of perioperative mortality following living kidney or liver donation will never be eliminated. Furthermore, anticipation of poor donor outcome may simultaneously be a source of anxiety for physicians and programs and also be a circumstance for which they are unprepared. We conducted a national survey of US transplant surgeons to understand experiences with and systemic preparedness for the event of a living donor death. Respondents represented 87 unique transplant programs (71 kidney and 16 liver donor programs). Perioperative deaths were rare, as expected. Although most respondents (N = 57, 64% of total respondents; 88% of liver programs) reported being moderately to extremely concerned about a future living donor death at their institution, only 30 (33% of total program respondents) had a written plan available in the case of such an event; 63% of programs would find guidance and recommendations useful. To help address this gap, the American Society of Transplantation Live Donor Community of Practice (AST LDCOP) developed Living Donor Crisis Management Plan Talking Points suitable to guide crisis plan development at transplant programs.

Keywords: clinical research/practice; donors and donation: living; ethics and public policy; kidney transplantation/nephrology; liver transplantation/hepatology; organ transplantation in general; survey.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Crew Resource Management, Healthcare / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Transplantation
  • Liver Transplantation
  • Living Donors / ethics*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement