J Korean Med Sci.  2018 Dec;33(50):e326. 10.3346/jkms.2018.33.e326.

Causes of Failure during the Management Process from Identification of Brain-Dead Potential Organ Donors to Actual Donation in Korea: a 5-Year Data Analysis (2012–2016)

  • 1Transplantation Center, Korea University Anam Hospital, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Korea Organ Donation Agency, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Acute Care Surgery, Korea University Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. ljm3225@hanmail.net
  • 4Department of Transplantation and Vascular Surgery, Korea University Anam Hospital, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


This retrospective study analyzed the causes of failure in the management process from the identification of brain-dead potential organ donors to actual donation in Korea over the past 5 years.
Data of 8,120 potential brain deaths reported to the Korea Organ Donation Agency were used, including information received at the time of reporting, donation suitability evaluation performed by the coordinator after the report, and data obtained from interviews of hospital medical staff and the donor's family.
From January 2012 to December 2016, the total number of brain-dead potential organ donors in Korea was 8,120, of which 2,348 (28.9%) underwent organ procurement surgery with designated recipients. While the number of transplant donors has increased over time, the ratio of transplant donors to medically suitable brain-dead donors has decreased. The common causes of donation failure included donation refusal (27.6%), non-brain death (15.5%), and incompatible donation (11.6%); 104 potential donors (7.8%) were unable to donate their organs because they were not pronounced brain dead.
The rate of successful organ donation may be increased by analyzing the major causes of failure in the brain-dead organ donation management process and engaging in various efforts to prevent such failures.


Brain Dead; Organ; Donor; Failure; Transplantation

MeSH Terms

Brain Death
Medical Staff, Hospital
Retrospective Studies
Statistics as Topic*
Tissue and Organ Procurement
Tissue Donors*
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