Practical Considerations in Donation After Circulatory Determination of Death in Switzerland

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Abstract

Faced with similar issues of organ scarcity to its neighbors, Switzerland has developed donation after circulatory determination of death (DCDD) as a way to expand the organ pool since 1985. Here, we analyze the history, practical considerations, and ethical issues relating to the Swiss donation after circulatory death programs. In Switzerland, determination of death for DCDD requires a stand-off period of 10 minutes. This time between cardiac arrest and the declaration of death is mandated in the guidelines of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. As in other DCDD programs, safeguards are put to avoid physicians denying lifesaving treatment to savable patients because of being influenced by receivers’ interest. An additional recommendation could be made: Recipients should be transparently informed of the worse graft outcomes with DCDD programs and given the possibility to refuse such organs.

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