Duration of In-Hospital Resuscitation: When to Call Time?

Royal United Hospital NHS Trust, Bath BA1 3NG, UK.
The Lancet (Impact Factor: 45.22). 09/2012; 380(9852). DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61182-9
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Available from: Jasmeet Soar, Jul 23, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: The most controversial issue in organ donation after the circulatory determination of death is whether the donor was truly dead at the moment death is declared. My colleagues and I further analyzed this issue by showing the relevance of the distinction between the "permanent" and the "irreversible" loss of circulatory functions. Permanent cessation means that circulatory function will not return because it will not be restored spontaneously and medical attempts to restore it will not be conducted. By contrast, irreversible cessation means that circulatory function cannot be restored using currently available technology. In this issue of the Report, Kevin Munjal and colleagues criticize the unjustified application of the permanent-irreversible distinction, which my colleagues and I developed for cDCDD, to their well-designed and carefully conducted experimental protocol of uncontrolled DCDD (uDCDD) in New York City, for which our analysis was not targeted. They claimed that to determine a donor's death in uDCDD, it is unnecessary to show that permanence is a valid surrogate indicator of irreversibility because the unsuccessful attempt to resuscitate the patient comprises prima facie evidence of circulatory irreversibility. Ironically, that potent justification defending death determination in uDCDD yields limitations that are similar to those created when our permanent-irreversible distinction is applied to death determination in cDCDD.
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    ABSTRACT: One barrier for implementing programs of uncontrolled organ donation after the circulatory determination of death is the lack of consensus on the precise moment of death. Our panel was convened to study this question after we performed a similar analysis on the moment of death in controlled organ donation after the circulatory determination of death. We concluded that death could be determined by showing the permanent or irreversible cessation of circulation and respiration. Circulatory irreversibility may be presumed when optimal cardiopulmonary resuscitation efforts have failed to restore circulation and at least a 7-minute period has elapsed thereafter during which autoresuscitation to restored circulation could occur. We advise against the use of postmortem organ support technologies that reestablish circulation of warm oxygenated blood because of their risk of retroactively invalidating the required conditions on which death was declared.
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