Objective: The authors evaluated the potential use of nonheartbeating (NHB) cadaver donors as an additional source to the current supply of brain-dead cadaver donors.
Summary background data: The numbers of cadaveric donors has not increased significantly during the last 5 years, despite a rising need for transplantable organs. Any improvement in cadaveric organ procurement will depend on the use of previously unrecognized potential donors.
Methods: During a 2-year period, 24 kidneys were retrieved from 12 NHB donors. Nineteen kidneys were transplanted.
Results: These kidneys sustained a mean warm ischemia time of 26 minutes (range 20-35 min). A mean lowest creatinine level of 2.0 mg/dL, (range 1.1-3.0 mg/dL), the rate of postoperative dialysis (22%), and a 1-year graft survival rate of 76% for kidneys from NHB-donated kidneys compare favorably to expected results achieved nationally from brain-dead cadaveric donors.
Conclusions: Nonheartbeating donor kidneys can yield acceptable graft function and be of no disadvantage to recipients of cadaver transplants.