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Pediatrics. 2007 Jan;119(1):e219-24.

Potential for donation after cardiac death in a children's hospital.

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Division of Critical Care, Department of Anesthesia, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Children's Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



A task force was convened to decide whether a donation after cardiac death policy should be implemented at Children's Hospital Boston. As part of this process, we sought to determine the number of potential kidney donation after cardiac death donors in our PICUs.


We examined all 254 deaths in the Medical/Surgical ICU and the Cardiac ICU from 2002 to 2004 and identified potential donation after cardiac death donors. Inclusion criteria were age > or = 3 months, mechanical ventilation, and creatinine < or = 1.5 mg/dL. Exclusion criteria were HIV infection, malignancy other than primary brain tumor or nonmelanoma skin cancer, evidence of ongoing infection, death despite resuscitation attempts, and brain death.


Twenty-one of the 254 deaths met criteria for brain death, and 233 patients did not. Of the 116 patients > 3 months of age for whom life support was withdrawn, 92 were not suitable for kidney donation after cardiac death. Of the 24 children identified as potentially eligible for donation after cardiac death, 14 died within 1 hour of withdrawal of support and could have proceeded with donation after cardiac death. In the other 10 children, donation would have been aborted because of prolonged time to death.


Of all patients who died in our ICUs, 5.5% would have been potential candidates for donation after cardiac death. Assuming the rates of parental consent are similar to that of our heart-beating organ donors (47%), a donation after cardiac death protocol could have potentially yielded 7 additional organ donors and 14 additional kidneys over this 3-year period.

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