Transplantation is the definitive treatment of end-stage organ disease. As the shortage of suitable organs poses its main limitation, the active management of potential organ donors becomes increasingly more important. The majority of solid organs are still obtained from donors after confirmed brain death. Brain death is the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain functions, and triggers a variety of severe pathophysiological changes in cardiovascular, hormonal and metabolic status that can result in organ damage. Moreover, brain death is associated with massive inflammatory response with a cytokine storm and complement activation that increases graft immunogenicity and adversely affects graft survival. Organs from brain-dead donors are more prone to graft dysfunction and rejection when compared to organs obtained from living donors. Brain death is thus believed to be an important risk factor influencing the quality of organs before procurement.
Part of the book: Organ Donation and Transplantation