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The inadequate supply of donor organs could be eased somewhat by using organs from people whose hearts have stopped but who have not been declared brain dead, according to a panel of experts in a new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM). But to be able to use such organs, strict procedures need to be in place to ensure their viability, the group cautioned.
"If the estimates are accurate, non–heart-beating donors could represent an increase of at least 1000 organ donors each year," said John Potts, MD, of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and the principal investigator of the IOM study. "To ensure that these patients receive proper care, however, it is critical that all transplant organizations adopt a consistent approach that respects the wishes of patients and families," he said.
Stephenson J. Easing the Organ Shortage. JAMA. 1998;279(3):188. doi:10.1001/jama.279.3.188-JHA71007-3-1