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Donation after circulatory death: A transplant cardiologist's take on neuroprognostication.

Donation after circulatory death (DCD) is becoming increasingly utilized in heart transplantation and has the potential to further expand the donor pool. As transplant cardiologists gain more familiarity with DCD donor selection, there are many issues that lack consensus including how we incorporate the neurologic examination, how we measure functional warm ischemic time (fWIT), and what fWIT thresholds are acceptable. DCD donor selection calls for prognostication tools to help determine how quickly a donor may expire, and in current practice there is no standardization in how we make these predictions. Current scoring systems help to determine which donor may expire within a specified time window either require the temporary disconnection of ventilatory support or do not incorporate any neurologic examination or imaging. Moreover, the specified time windows differ from other DCD solid organ transplantation without standardization or strong scientific justification for these thresholds. In this perspective, we highlight the challenges faced by transplant cardiologists as they navigate the muddy waters of neuroprognostication in DCD cardiac donation. Given these difficulties, this is also a call to action for the creation of a more standardized approach to improve the DCD donor selection process for appropriate resource allocation and organ utilization.

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