Heart transplantation from donation after circulatory determined death
Fifty years since the first successful human heart transplant from a non-heart beating donor, this concept of heart transplantation from donation after circulatory determined death (DCD) promises to be one of the most exciting developments in heart transplantation. Heart transplantation has established itself as the best therapeutic option for patients with end-stage heart failure, with the opportunity to provide these patients with a near-normal quality of life. However, this treatment is severely limited by the availability of suitable donor hearts. In recent times, heart transplantation has been limited to using donor hearts from donors following brain stem death. The use of donor hearts from DCD had been thought to be associated with high risk and poor outcomes until recent developments in organ perfusion and retrieval techniques have shown that this valuable resource may provide an answer to the global shortage of suitable donor hearts. With established DCD heart transplant programmes reporting encouraging results, this technique has been shown to be comparable to the current gold standard of donation after brain death (DBD) heart transplantation.