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Organ Donation in Canadian PICUs: A Cross-Sectional Survey, 2021-2022.

OBJECTIVES: To understand contemporary pediatric organ donation programs in Canadian PICUs, including: policies and practices, data collection and reporting, and system and process barriers.

DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey carried out 2021-2022.

SETTING: Canadian PICUs affiliated with a donor physician network.

SUBJECTS: Pediatric intensivists identified as the donation program lead, or most knowledgeable about donation for their institution.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: A 19-item survey was developed through collaboration with stakeholders from the organ donation and transplantation community within Canada. Domains and items were generated and reduced iteratively during an in-person workshop. Pretesting and pilot testing were completed to ensure readability, flow, clinical sensibility, and construct validity. Fifteen of 16 (94%) invited Canadian PICUs from seven provinces completed the survey representing 88% (15/18) of all noncardiac Canadian PICUs. Surveys were completed between June 2021 and September 2022. All units support donation after death by neurologic criteria (DNC); 14 of 15 indicated donation policies were in place and 1 of 15 indicated no policy but the ability to facilitate donation. Thirteen of 15 units (87%) support donation after death by circulatory criteria (DCC) with policies in place, with 11 of 13 of these indicating routine support of donation opportunities. The majority (13/15) of units identified a donation champion. Of the 16 identified champions across these centers, 13 were physicians and were registered nurses or nurse practitioners. Eight of 13 units (62%) with donation champions had positions supported financially, of which 5 units came from the Organ Donation Organization and the other 3 came from the provincial health authority. Finally, only 3 of 15 PICU donation programs have a pediatric donation committee with family involvement. Variability exists in identification (including determination of death practices), referral, and approach for donation between units.

CONCLUSIONS: Although all Canadian PICUs support donation after DNC donation, and most support donation after DCC, variability exists in the identification, referral, and approach of potential donors. There is a notable lack of family involvement in pediatric donation programs. There are many opportunities for standardization of PICU donation programs which may result in improved rates of pediatric organ donation in Canada.

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