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      Management of the heartbeating brain-dead organ donor.

      BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia

      Brain Death, physiopathology, Great Britain, Humans, Intensive Care, methods, Organ Transplantation, utilization, Tissue Donors, supply & distribution, Tissue and Organ Harvesting, Tissue and Organ Procurement, organization & administration

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          The main factor limiting organ donation is the availability of suitable donors and organs. Currently, most transplants follow multiple organ retrieval from heartbeating brain-dead organ donors. However, brain death is often associated with marked physiological instability, which, if not managed, can lead to deterioration in organ function before retrieval. In some cases, this prevents successful donation. There is increasing evidence that moderation of these pathophysiological changes by active management in Intensive Care maintains organ function, thereby increasing the number and functional quality of organs available for transplantation. This strategy of active donor management requires an alteration of philosophy and therapy on the part of the intensive care unit clinicians and has significant resource implications if it is to be delivered reliably and safely. Despite increasing consensus over donor management protocols, many of their components have not yet been subjected to controlled evaluation. Hence the optimal combinations of treatment goals, monitoring, and specific therapies have not yet been fully defined. More research into the component techniques is needed.

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