Neonatal donation: are newborns too young to be recognized?

Title

Neonatal donation: are newborns too young to be recognized?

Creator

Vileito A; Hulzebos CV; Toet MC; Baptist DH; Verhagen EAA; Siebelink MJ

Publisher

European Journal of Pediatrics

Date

2021

Subject

Infant; Retrospective Studies; Newborn Infant; End-of-life care; Tissue and Organ Procurement; Brain Death; Tissue Donors; Pediatric; Organ donation; Neonatal; Death; Tissue donation

Description

Neonatal organ and tissue donation is not common practice in the Netherlands. At the same time, there is a transplant waiting list for small size-matched organs and tissues. Multiple factors may contribute to low neonatal donation rates, including a lack of awareness of this option. This study provides insight into potential neonatal organ and tissue donors and reports on how many donors were actually reported to the procurement organization. We performed a retrospective analysis of the mortality database and medical records of two largest neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in the Netherlands. This study reviewed records of neonates with a gestational age >37 weeks and weight >3000g who died in the period from January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2016. During the study period, 259 term-born neonates died in the two NICUs. In total, 132 neonates with general contra-indications for donation were excluded. The medical records of 127 neonates were examined for donation suitability. We identified five neonates with documented brain death who were not recognized as potential organ and/or tissue donors. Of the remaining neonates, 27 were found suitable for tissue donation. One potential tissue donor had been reported to the procurement organization. In three cases, the possibility of donation was brought up by parents.Conclusion: A low proportion (2%) of neonates who died in the NICUs were found suitable for organ donation, and a higher proportion (12%) were found suitable for tissue donation. We suggest that increased awareness concerning the possibility of neonatal donation would likely increase the identification of potential neonatal donors. What is Known: • There is an urgent need for very small organs and tissues from neonatal donors What is New: • A number of neonates who died in the NICU were suitable organ or/and tissue donors but were not recognized as donors. • Knowledge on neonatal donation possibilities is also important for proper counseling of parents who sometimes inquire for the possibility of organ and tissue donation.

Rights

Article information provided for research and reference use only. PedPalASCNET does not hold any rights over the resource listed here. All rights are retained by the journal listed under publisher and/or the creator(s).

Citation List Month

January 2022 List

Collection

Citation

Vileito A; Hulzebos CV; Toet MC; Baptist DH; Verhagen EAA; Siebelink MJ, “Neonatal donation: are newborns too young to be recognized?,” Pediatric Palliative Care Library, accessed May 23, 2022, https://pedpalascnetlibrary.omeka.net/items/show/17782.

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