Ethical and End-of-Life Issues - Organ Donation
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In the United States, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) maintains the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) contract. UNOS is responsible for creating and maintaining an organ sharing system to maximize the use of the scarce organ supply and maintain data regarding transplants. In the United States, most organs are retrieved from donors who are declared brain dead; however, an increasing number of organs are being harvested from living donors and from donation after cardiac death (DCD). DCD organ donors are critically ill patients who are expected to die imminently upon withdrawal of life-sustaining treatments. Importantly, data to date suggest that outcomes of organs from DCD donors are not significantly different from those of brain-dead donors, despite a known warm ischemia time.