The Future Direction of the Organ Donation System After Legislation of the Life-Sustaining Treatment Decision Act
Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Surgery, Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital, Ewha Womans University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea
Ann Transplant 2021; 26:e934345
Available online: 2021-10-12
The transplant community is seeking ways to encourage organ donation after cardiac arrest to solve the problem of the insufficiency of organs available for the increasing number of people awaiting transplantation. This study aimed to determine whether the life-sustaining treatment (LST) decision system, implemented in Korea on February 4, 2018, can address the shortage of organ donations.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We retrospectively analyzed the medical records of the 442 patients who had filled out forms for the LST decision at Ewha Womans University Mokdong Hospital from April 2018 to December 2019, and classified the eligibility of organ and tissue donation according to the Korean Organ Donation Agency criteria.
RESULTS: We included 442 patients in this study. Among them, 238 (53.8%) were men, and 204 (46.2%) were women. The average age of the patients was 71.8 years (the youngest and oldest were aged 23 years and 103 years, respectively). Of these, 110 patients (24.9%) decided on their own to discontinue LST, whereas 332 (75.1%) decided to discontinue with their family’s consent. This study demonstrated that 50% of patients who were not brain-dead and discontinued LST were eligible for organ donation. However, the patients and caregivers were not aware of this option because the current law does not allow the discussion of such donations.
CONCLUSIONS: A discussion regarding donation after circulatory death is recommended to solve the problem of insufficient organ donation.
Keywords: Brain Death, Death, Tissue and Organ Procurement, Transplants, Withholding Treatment