DCD Liver Transplant: The OPO Perspective

  • Danielle BalbisEmail author
  • Heather Markuson


Donation after circulatory death (DCD) provides the option of organ donation for patients who are not brain-dead, but for whom ventilator support will be removed for the purpose of death. With over 112,000 people waiting for a life-saving transplant, it is crucial that organ procurement organizations determine opportunities for the greatest potential for growth. For many, it is DCD donation. It is possible for DCD donors to donate the liver, kidneys, pancreas, lungs, and even the heart, but the most common organs recovered and transplanted from this donor population remain the liver and kidneys.

Key elements for a successful DCD program within an OPO are public education, hospital development, clear DCD policy creation within the donor hospitals that outlines an efficient referral and DCD process, excellent communication with transplant programs, highly proficient DCD organ recovery, packaging and transport, successful transplantation, and aftercare for the family. Public education should focus on encouraging people to register their donation decision so that their families do not have to make that decision for them. OPOs must provide hospital services personnel to assist hospital staff with the process of identifying patients who could be potential DCD organ donors and educating them on how and when to make the referral. OPOs must also respond to all referrals efficiently and provide the donor hospitals with a high level of service to their patients and families.

A DCD program within an OPO will become successful over time with practice and a significant amount of communication with families, donor hospitals, and transplant programs.


OPO Procurement Organ recovery Hospital services Donor registry Donor management Liver allocation Donor family 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LifeQuest Organ Recovery ServicesGainesvilleUSA

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