Trends in brain-dead organ donor characteristics: a 13-year analysis

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Driven by disease trends, such as obesity and metabolic syndrome, that are increasingly prevalent in the general population, we aimed to evaluate the comorbidities and attributes of the brain-dead organ donor population over time in a longitudinal study.


We compared overall health and baseline attributes of organ donors between 2000–2005 and 2006–2012 using our prospective transplant database. Descriptive and comparative analyses of the 2 historical cohorts were performed.


A total of 1040 brain-dead organ donors were included in our analysis: 496 from the 2000–2005 period and 544 from the 2006–2012 period. Our analysis revealed that donors from the recent (2006–2012) period were more likely to have increased body mass index (26.4 ± 6.0 v. 25.0 ± 4.8, p = 0.003), smoking history (57.0% v. 27.2%, p < 0.001), coronary artery disease (14.3% v. 3.2%, p = 0.015) and dyslipidemia (19.1% v. 4.2%, p < 0.001), but less likely to have concurrent infection (1.1% v. 7.9%, p < 0.001) than those from the earlier period.


Our data suggest that the characteristics and comorbidities of brain-dead organ donors have somewhat deteriorated over the last decade. Further studies are needed to evaluate the impact of these health attributes on donated organ utilization and outcomes.

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