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15.06.2017 | Original Scientific Report | Ausgabe 11/2017

World Journal of Surgery 11/2017

Organ Dysfunction and Failure Following Brain Death Do Not Preclude Successful Donation

World Journal of Surgery > Ausgabe 11/2017
Eno-Obong I. Essien, Nehu Parimi, Jennifer Gutwald-Miller, Tyree Nutter, Thomas M. Scalea, Deborah M. Stein
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Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s00268-017-4089-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



Organ dysfunction is common after neurologic determination of death (NDD) but before organ collection. Reliable markers for graft success following transplant of these organs would be useful. We sought to determine the relationship between the donor after neurologic determination of death (DNDD) pathophysiology and successful organ donation.


Donor information was obtained through the local organ procurement organization. Donor demographics and clinical data points for cardiovascular, renal, respiratory, hepatic, hematological and neuroendocrine systems were reviewed 12 h before and 12 h after neurologic determination of death was declared. The worst values were utilized for analysis and generation of the organ-specific Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) scores. SOFA scores were calculated and used to quantify the degree of organ dysfunction. The NDD non-donors for a specific organ were used as a comparison control group. The control group refers to DNDD patients whose specific organs were not transplanted. Lack of use was mostly due to discard by the transplant team as a result of unsuitability of the organ caused by deterioration or possible donor-specific pathology.


One hundred and five organ donors were analyzed. Mean age was 35.0 (± 13.6), 78.1% male, median GCS 3, interquartile range (IQR) 3–4 and median injury severity score 32 (IQR 25–43). Of the successful donors, organ-specific severe dysfunction (SOFA 3 or 4) occurred in 96, 27.5 and 3.3% of cardiac, lung and liver donors, respectively. There was no significant difference between the levels of organ dysfunction in donors versus non-donors except lung donors, in which the median lowest partial pressure of arterial oxygen-to-fraction of inspired oxygen (P/F) ratio in the non-donor was 194 (IQR 121.8–308.3) compared to the median lowest P/F ratio in the donor which was 287 (IQR 180–383.5), p = 0.02. In the recipients, graft failure 6 months after transplantation was reported in one kidney recipient (0.74%) (peak donor creatinine = 1 mg/dL) and in five pancreas recipients (11.4%). The median peak glucose of the pancreas donors in failed recipients was 178 mg/dL (IQR 157–213), whereas in the functioning recipients, the median glucose of their donors was not different (185 mg/dL, IQR 157–216), p = 0.394.


Current measures of organ failure and dysfunction do not predict the success of organ donation. Successful donor management in the face of severe organ dysfunction and failure can result in lives saved.

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