Resuscitation, preservation, and evaluation of hearts donated after circulatory death: an avenue to expand the donor pool for transplantation
White, Christopher W.
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Cardiac transplantation is the treatment of choice for eligible patients with advanced heart failure; however, it is limited by a critical shortage of suitable organs from traditional brain-dead donors. Organs donated following circulatory death (DCD) have been used to successfully expand the pool of organs available for kidney, liver, and lung transplantation; however, concerns regarding the severity of injury sustained by the heart following withdrawal of life sustaining therapy have deterred the clinical transplantation of DCD hearts. Investigations aiming to optimize the resuscitation, preservation, and evaluation of DCD hearts may facilitate the development of an evidence based protocol for DCD heart transplantation that can be translated to the clinical area and expand the donor pool. Therefore, the objectives of this thesis are to develop a clinically relevant large animal model of DCD and gain a greater understanding regarding the physiologic impact of donor extubation on the DCD heart, demonstrate as a ‘proof-of-concept’ that utilizing an approach to donor heart resuscitation, preservation, and evaluation that is tailored to the DCD context can facilitate successful transplantation, and finally to investigate ways to optimize the resuscitation, preservation, and evaluation of DCD hearts for transplantation. The results of this thesis may then be used to inform the development of an evidence-based protocol for DCD heart transplantation that can be translated to the clinical area. The clinical adoption of such a protocol has the potential to expand the donor pool and improve outcomes for patients with end-stage heart failure.