Background: Current risk-adjusted models used to predict donor heart use and cardiac graft survival from organ donors after brain death (DBDs) do not include bedside critical care data. We sought to identify novel independent predictors of heart use and graft survival to better understand the relationship between donor management and transplantation outcomes. Study Design: We conducted a prospective observational study of DBDs managed from 2008 to 2013 by 10 organ procurement organizations. Demographic data, critical care parameters, and treatments were recorded at 3 standardized time points during donor management. The primary outcomes measures were donor heart use and cardiac graft survival. Results: From 3,433 DBDs, 1,134 hearts (33%) were transplanted and 969 cardiac grafts (85%) survived after 684 ± 392 days of follow-up. After multivariable analysis, independent positive predictors of heart use included standard criteria donor status (odds ratio [OR] 3.93), male sex (OR 1.68), ejection fraction > 50% (OR 1.64), and partial pressure of oxygen to fraction of inspired oxygen ratio > 300 (OR 1.31). Independent negative predictors of heart use included donor age (OR 0.94), BMI > 30 kg/m2 (OR 0.78), serum creatinine (OR 0.83), and use of thyroid hormone (OR 0.78). As for graft survival, after controlling for known recipient risk factors, thyroid hormone dose was the only independent predictor (OR 1.04 per μg/h). Conclusions: Modifiable critical care parameters and treatments predict donor heart use and cardiac graft survival. The discordant relationship between thyroid hormone and donor heart use (negative predictor) vs cardiac graft survival (positive predictor) warrants additional investigation.
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