Introduction: Donation after circulatory death (DCD) is rapidly increasing in the United States. Detailed data outlining the process from referral to organ transplantation is lacking. Project Aims: We sought to quantify differences at each stage along the referral to donation pathway by donor type. Additionally, we examined factors associated with successful DCD organ utilization. Design: This program evaluation analyzed data from a single organ procurement organization in 2018 to assess demographic and clinical predictors of progression through the donation process, including the role of first-person authorization in DCD. Descriptive statistics were examined by donation stage for demographic characteristics using chi-square; univariate and multivariate logistic regression was used to model predictors of utilization and authorization by organ type, respectively. Results: There were 2466 organ donation referrals during 2018, including 575 donations after brainstem death (DBD), 1890 controlled DCD referrals, and 1 uncontrolled DCD referral. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression models highlighted differences in authorization rates by donor type (DCD vs DBD) and by age, race, and ethnicity. Next-of-kin authorization was declined in 23% of first-person authorized potential DCD, highlighting issues related to the role of donor registration in DCD. Pre-mortem heparin administration was predictive of DCD organ utilization; donor age and warm ischemia time of less than 30 min was statistically significantly associated with DCD extra-renal organ utilization. Conclusion: These results provided insight into strategies for increasing authorization and transplantation of organs from DCD donors and identified areas of improvement for process standardization and policy development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-320
Number of pages7
JournalProgress in Transplantation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • brain death
  • circulatory death
  • descriptive comparative
  • interventional
  • organ
  • organ transplantation
  • procurement
  • quantitative methods
  • quantitative methods
  • research
  • research
  • tissue and organ procurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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