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Transpl Int. 2012 Dec;25(12):1268-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-2277.2012.01567.x. Epub 2012 Oct 11.

Children as donors: a national study to assess procurement of organs and tissues in pediatric intensive care units.

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1
Department of Management Affairs, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands. m.j.siebelink@umcg.nl

Abstract

A shortage of size-matched organs and tissues is the key factor limiting transplantation in children. Empirical data on procurement from pediatric donors is sparse. This study investigated donor identification, parental consent, and effectuation rates, as well as adherence to the national protocol. A national retrospective cohort study was conducted in all eight Dutch pediatric intensive care units. Records of deceased children were analyzed by an independent donation officer. Seventy-four (11%) of 683 deceased children were found to be suitable for organ donation and 132 (19%) for tissue donation. Sixty-two (84%) potential organ donors had been correctly identified; the parental consent and effectuation rate was 42%. Sixty-three (48%) potential tissue donors had been correctly identified; the parental consent and effectuation rate was 27%. Correct identification increased with age (logistic regression, organs: P = .024; tissues: P = .011). Although an overall identification rate of 84% of potential organ donors may seem acceptable, the variation observed suggests room for improvement, as does the overall low rate of identification of pediatric tissue donors. Efforts to address the shortage of organs and tissues for transplantation in children should focus on identifying potential donors and on the reasons why parents do not consent.

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