Education And Debate

An Ethical Debate: Transplantation and interventional ventilation on the intensive therapy unit

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.310.6981.716 (Published 18 March 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:716
  1. Sheila M Willatts

    Transplantation is a successful, cost effective treatment for terminal organ failure limited by a shortfall of donor organs to meet the need. This is currently estimated at over 5700 organs for the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland.1 2

    A confidential audit of all deaths in intensive therapy units has shown that even if all patients diagnosed as brainstem dead became donors the need could not be met.3 This led to the Exeter protocol for interventional ventilation of patients with rapidly progressive intracranial pathology which was expected to be fatal.4 Worldwide estimates suggest about 40 potential candidates for interventional ventilation per million population, which would greatly improve the outlook for those awaiting a transplant.5 The age of donor organs acquired in this way is greater but the proportion …

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