How ICU Efforts Could Double Some Transplant Rates

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media , April 4, 2011

Data from adult brain dead donors between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009 was compared to data from July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008, before the organ donor support team approach was used. In the earlier time period, 31% of potentially available organs were transplanted. Using the support team, transplants increased to 44% of available organs.

Data showed that the organ donor support team produced a 200% increase in transplanted lungs and almost a 50% increase in transplanted kidneys. Heart and liver transplantation rates did not register a significant change.

Researchers credit the conversion of medically unsuitable donors into actual donors, better resuscitation of unstable donors, optimization of organ function, and improved communication between the organ procurement  staff, ICU team and transplant surgeons as contributing to the increased transplantation rates.

Dr. Singbartl cautioned that "the number of donors in our study is not large enough to determine whether a particular medical intervention played a key role, but it's very clear from our experience that this team approach did make a difference."

The analysis appears in the online version of the American Journal of Transplantation.

Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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