Key factors in paediatric organ and tissue donation: an overview of literature in a chronological working model

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There is a growing shortage of size-matched organs and tissues for children. Although examples of substandard care are reported in the literature, there is no overview of the paediatric donation process. The aim of the study is to gain insight into the chain of events, practices and procedures in paediatric donation. Method; a survey of the 1990–2010 literature on paediatric organ and tissue donation and categorization into a coherent chronological working model of key events and procedures. Studies on paediatric donation are rare. Twelve empirical studies were found, without any level I or level II-1 evidence. Seventy-five per cent of the studies describe the situation in the United States. Literature suggests that the identification of potential donors and the way in which parental consent is requested may be substandard. We found no literature discussing best practices. Notwithstanding the importance of looking at donation care as an integrated process, most studies discuss only a few isolated topics or sub-processes. To improve paediatric donation, more research is required on substandard factors and their interactions. A chronological working model, as presented here, starting with the identification of potential donors and ending with aftercare, could serve as a practical tool to optimize paediatric donation.

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