Prediction of time of death after withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment in potential donors after cardiac death*

J. Wind, M.G. Snoeijs, C.A. Brugman, J. Vervelde, J.H. Zwaveling, W.N. van Mook, L.W.E. van Heurn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Organ donation after cardiac death increases the number of donor organs. In controlled donation after cardiac death donors, the period between withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and cardiac arrest is one of the parameters used to assess whether organs are suitable for transplantation. The objective of this study was to identify donation after cardiac death donor characteristics that affect the interval between withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment and cardiac death. DESIGN: Prospective multicenter study of observational data. PATIENTS: All potential donation after cardiac death donors in The Netherlands between May 2007 and June 2009 were identified. INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Of the 242 potential donation after cardiac death donors, 211 entered analysis, 76% of them died within 60 mins, and 83% died within 120 mins after withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment. The median time to death was 20 mins (range 1 min to 3.8 days). Controlled mechanical ventilation, use of norepinephrine, absence of reflexes, neurologic deficit as cause of death, and absence of cardiovascular comorbidity were associated with death within 60 and 120 mins. The use of analgesics, sedatives, or extubation did not significantly influence the moment of death. In the multivariable logistic regression analysis, controlled mechanical ventilation remained a risk factor for death within 60 mins, and norepinephrine administration and absence of cardiovascular comorbidity remained risk factors for death within 120 mins. The clinical judgment of the intensivist predicted death within 60 and 120 mins with a sensitivity of 73% and 89%, respectively, and a specificity of 56% and 25%, respectively. CONCLUSION: Despite the identification of risk factors for early death and the additional value of the clinical judgment by the intensivist, it is not possible to reliably identify potential donation after cardiac death donors who will die within 1 or 2 hrs after life-sustaining treatment has been withdrawn. Consequently, a donation procedure should be initiated in every potential donor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)766-769
Number of pages4
JournalCritical Care Medicine
Volume40
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012

Keywords

  • cardiac death
  • donation after cardiac death
  • withdrawal of life-saving treatment
  • HEART-BEATING DONORS
  • RENAL-TRANSPLANTATION
  • ORGAN DONATION
  • ILL PATIENTS

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