Extended criteria increase organ donations without compromising patient health
Using more liberal criteria to evaluate potential lung donors combined with aggressive donor management significantly increases the availability of potential lung donors, and ultimately decreases mortality of recipients on the waiting list, says a new study presented at CHEST 2003, the 69th annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP). The new study introduces the concept of physician-directed protocol (PDP), which incorporates the evaluation and management of every possible lung donor using more liberal or "extended" donor criteria and intensive education of pulmonologists and staff of the Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) in evaluating and managing donors with a set protocol. The study shows that with the use of this protocol, the number of lung donations increased by 119 percent and mean waiting time decreased by 70 percent. A related study also found that the use of lungs obtained from extended donors did not compromise the health of the organ recipient.
"The number of patients on the waiting list for lung transplants has continued to increase over the last several years, yet the number of donor lungs remains relatively stable. Therefore, the waiting time for a lung transplant has increased as has the number of patients who die while waiting for a transplant," said lead author Deborah Levine, MD, Assistant Professor in Medicine and Thoracic Surgery, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX. "A shortage of donor lungs is the primary limitation in increasing lung transplantation. With intensive education of the OPOs, we are now being called on every potential donor lung and evaluating them for the possibility of transplant."
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