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A national pilot of donation after circulatory death (DCD) heart transplantation within the United Kingdom

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Guy MacGowanORCiD, S Clark, Dr Zdenka Reinhardt, Professor Derek Manas



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2023Background: The United Kingdom (UK) was one of the first countries to pioneer heart transplantation from donation after circulatory death (DCD) donors. To facilitate equity of access to DCD hearts by all UK heart transplant centers and expand the retrieval zone nationwide, a Joint Innovation Fund (JIF) pilot was provided by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) and NHS England (NHSE). The activity and outcomes of this national DCD heart pilot program are reported. Methods: This is a national multi-center, retrospective cohort study examining early outcomes of DCD heart transplants performed across 7 heart transplant centers, adult and pediatric, throughout the UK. Hearts were retrieved using the direct procurement and perfusion (DPP) technique by 3 specialist retrieval teams trained in ex-situ normothermic machine perfusion. Outcomes were compared against DCD heart transplants before the national pilot era and against contemporaneous donation after brain death (DBD) heart transplants, and analyzed using Kaplan-Meier analysis, chi-square test, and Wilcoxon's rank-sum. Results: From September 7, 2020 to February 28, 2022, 215 potential DCD hearts were offered of which 98 (46%) were accepted and attended. There were 77 potential donors (36%) which proceeded to death within 2 hours, with 57 (27%) donor hearts successfully retrieved and perfused ex situ and 50 (23%) DCD hearts going on to be transplanted. During this same period, 179 DBD hearts were transplanted. Overall, there was no difference in the 30-day survival rate between DCD and DBD (94% vs 93%) or 90 day survival (90% vs 90%) respectively. There was a higher rate of ECMO use post-DCD heart transplants compared to DBD (40% vs 16%, p = 0.0006), and DCD hearts in the pre pilot era, (17%, p = 0.002). There was no difference in length of ICU stay (9 DCD vs 8 days DBD, p = 0.13) nor hospital stay (28 DCD vs 27 DBD days, p = 0.46). Conclusion: During this pilot study, 3 specialist retrieval teams were able to retrieve DCD hearts nationally for all 7 UK heart transplant centers. DCD donors increased overall heart transplantation in the UK by 28% with equivalent early posttransplant survival compared with DBD donors.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Messer S, Rushton S, Simmonds L, Macklam D, Husain M, Jothidasan A, Large S, Tsui S, Kaul P, Baxter J, Osman M, Mehta V, Russell D, Stock U, Dunning J, Saez DG, Venkateswaran R, Curry P, Ayton L, Mukadam M, Mascaro J, Simmonds J, Macgowan G, Clark S, Jungschleger J, Reinhardt Z, Quigley R, Speed J, Parameshwar J, Jenkins D, Watson S, Marley F, Ali A, Gardiner D, Rubino A, Whitney J, Beale S, Slater C, Currie I, Armstrong L, Foley J, Ryan M, Gibson S, Quinn K, Macleod A-M, Spence S, Watson CJE, Catarino P, Clarkson A, Forsythe J, Manas D, Berman M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation

Year: 2023

Volume: 42

Issue: 8

Pages: 1120-1130

Print publication date: 01/08/2023

Online publication date: 13/03/2023

Acceptance date: 02/04/2022

Date deposited: 04/05/2023

ISSN (print): 1053-2498

ISSN (electronic): 1557-3117

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.healun.2023.03.006

PubMed id: 37032222


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