Background: With more patients qualifying for heart transplantation (HT) and fewer hearts being transplanted, it is vital to look for other options. To date, only organs from brain-dead donors have been used for HT in the Netherlands. We investigated waiting list mortality in all Dutch HT centres and the potential of donation after circulatory death (DCD) HT in the Netherlands. Methods: Two different cohorts were evaluated. One cohort was defined as patients who were newly listed or were already on the waiting list for HT between January 2013 and December 2017. Follow-up continued until September 2018 and waiting list mortality was calculated. A second cohort of all DCD donors in the Netherlands (lung, liver, kidney and pancreas) between January 2013 and December 2017 was used to calculate the potential of DCD HT. Results: Out of 395 patients on the waiting list for HT, 196 (50%) received transplants after a median waiting time of 2.6 years. In total, 15% died while on the waiting list before a suitable donor heart became available. We identified 1006 DCD donors. After applying exclusion criteria and an age limit of 50 years, 122 potential heart donors remained. This number increased to 220 when the age limit was extended to 57 years. Conclusion: Waiting list mortality in the Netherlands is high. HT using organs from DCD donors has great potential in the Netherlands and could lead to a reduction in waiting list mortality. Cardiac screening will eventually determine the true potential.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank the Dutch Transplant Society for providing data on all transplants performed in the Netherlands between 2013 and 2017.
© 2020, The Author(s).