"Non-Heart-Beating," or "Cardiac Death," Organ Donation: Why We Should Care

Mohamed Y. Rady, MD, PhD, FRCS (Eng.), FRCP (UK), FCCM; Joseph L. Verheijde, PhD, MBA; Joan McGregor, PhD


Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2007;2(5):324-334. 

In This Article


In conclusion, NHBOD influences medical care at critical time points to maximize the procurement of transplantable organs and minimize their warm ischemia time with negative consequences on the EOL care for the prospective donors and their families (see Figure 1).

Mandatory implementation of NHBOD in the face of difficulties surrounding the quality of EOL care for donors raises concern across the medical profession and community. There is a need for better scientific validation of the timing of organ procurement to ensure that organ recovery is not the irreversible event defining death in NHBOD. The desire of OPOs or their affiliates to maximize recovery of transplantable organs introduces self-serving bias into obtaining consent for organ donation and violates the basic tenet of true informed consent. The use of comprehensive quality indicators of EOL care will help to determine the impact of NHBOD on donors, families, caregivers, and health care providers.


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