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How ICU Efforts Could Double Some Transplant Rates

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, April 4, 2011

Better communication between intensive care physicians and organ procurement coordinators could increase the availability of lungs and kidneys for transplant, research by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the university's medical school shows.

More than twice as many lungs and nearly 50 percent more kidneys could be recovered for transplantation if ICU physicians and organ procurement coordinators worked together to monitor and manage the bodies of brain dead donors.

"Our analysis shows that an intensivist at the donor's bedside who aids and advises the organ procurement (OP) coordinator can result in a greater likelihood of recovering organs that are deemed acceptable for transplant, said lead author Kai Singbartl, M.D. Singbartl is assistant professor of critical care medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a UPMC intensivist.

In 2008, UPMC Presbyterian implemented an intensivist-led organ donor support team to work with the OP coordinator at the bedside of brain dead donors. Standard protocols to maintain tissues and organs for transplant are supported by physician interventions, including adjustments to optimize oxygenation, and to balance blood pressure and flow, fluids, and other bodily functions to sustain as many organs as possible for transplant.

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