Non-heartbeating Organ Donation: A Review

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Organ transplantation is one of the groundbreaking achievements in medicine in the 20th century. In the early days of transplantation, organs were obtained from non-heartbeating (NHB) cadavers. With time, better options for organ sources became available (for example, living-related and “brain dead” donors), and the practice of obtaining organs from NHB cadavers fell out of favor. Improvements in the field of transplantation have led to an increased demand for organs. Various strategies have been employed recently to increase the supply, one of them being non-heartbeating organ donation (NHBOD). NHBOD can take place in controlled or uncontrolled circumstances. Recently, national organizations have supported and proposed guidelines for NHBOD and to aid clinicians in identifying potential donors. Outcomes of organs obtained from NHB cadavers are comparable to those obtained from heartbeating donors. The practice of NHBOD is increasing and has proven that it can contribute to increasing organ availability.

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