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Transplant Proc. 2013 May;45(4):1310-2. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2013.01.072.

Estimated organ donor potential in German maximum care hospitals.

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Department of General-, Visceral- and Transplant Surgery, University Essen, Germany.



The decreasing number of organ donors in Germany remains a major issue in transplantation medicine. The aim of this study was to estimate the organ donor potential at German maximum care hospitals.


To critically review potential in comparison with organ donation rates in 2010. We separated Maximum care hospitals into university institutions (A-level) and centers with a neurosurgical unit (B-level) based upon the size of hospital as indicated by the total number of beds. To estimate the number of possible organ donors, we adopted the American model previously published by Sheehy et al: the potential was 0.015 organ donors/bed/year for hospitals with more than 350 beds.


In 2010 overall in Germany there were 1296 organ donations resulting in 4205 transplanted organs. University hospitals realized 397 organ donations namely 0.008 organ donors/bed/year (57% of calculated organ donor potential), whereas B-level hospitals accounted for 555 of organ donors with a rate of 0.007 organ donors/bed/year (48% of calculated organ donor potential). Large variations in realizing organ donations occurred among single hospitals.


Our results indicated a substantial potential to increase organ donation rates in German maximum care hospitals. These hospitals (n = 145) are responsible for 73% (non-maximum care hospital n = 1195) of the absolute organ donor pool. Further studies are needed to evaluate possibilities to address the organ shortage particularly with regard to donor detection in intensive care units and also the refusal rate by families.

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