Controlled Organ Donation After Cardiac Death: Potential Donors in the Emergency Department
McKeown, Dermot W
Ray, David C
Transplantation 2010 May 15; 89(9): 1149-53
BACKGROUND.: The continuing shortfall of organs for transplantation has increased the use of donation after cardiac death (DCD). We hypothesized that some patients who undergo tracheal intubation in the emergency department (ED) and who are assessed for, but not admitted to, critical care might have potential for controlled DCD. METHODS.: We identified all patients who underwent tracheal intubation in the ED between 2004 and 2008 and studied their records to identify those not admitted to an intensive care unit. We reviewed the notes of patients extubated in the ED to ascertain the diagnosis, management, outcome, and potential exclusion criteria for controlled DCD. RESULTS.: One thousand three hundred seventy-four patients had tracheal intubation performed in the ED; 1053 received anesthetic drugs to assist intubation. Three hundred seventy-five patients were not admitted to intensive care unit; 235 died during resuscitation in the ED. Of the 49 patients extubated in the ED to allow terminal care, 26 were older than 70 years and 18 had comorbidities precluding organ donation. Fourteen patients could have been considered for DCD, but in eight, the time from extubation to death exceeded 2 hr. Thus, six patients might have been missed as potential controlled DCD from the ED in this 5-year period. CONCLUSIONS.: Identification of potential donors after cardiac death in the ED with appropriate use of critical care for selected patients may contribute to reducing the shortfall of organs for transplantation, although numbers are likely to be small. This area remains controversial and requires further informed discussion between emergency and critical care doctors and transplant teams.
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