A Canadian survey of critical care physicians’ hemodynamic management of deceased organ donors
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PURPOSE: We sought to characterize Canadian physicians' perspectives and stated practices regarding their hemodynamic care of deceased organ donors. METHODS: We designed a 24-item electronic survey that was independently pretested for relevance, clarity, and intra-rater reliability by ten critical care clinicians. With the help of provincial organ donation organizations (ODO), we identified intensive care units (ICUs) with a high volume of adult deceased donors (defined by the management of five or more donors per year for two consecutive years). Medical directors of these high-volume ICUs helped identify ICU physicians to whom our survey was emailed. RESULTS: Of the 448 ICU physicians from 37 centres in nine provinces that were emailed, 184/448 (41.1%) responded to one or more survey questions. Respondents identified specialist nurses from ODOs as their primary source of guidance in donor care (107/165; 60%). They typically diagnosed an autonomic storm according to a rise in blood pressure (159/165; 96.4%) and/or heart rate (135/165; 81.8%); nevertheless, their stated management varied substantially. After termination of the autonomic storm, preferred first-line vasopressors were norepinephrine (93/164; 56.7%) and vasopressin (68/164; 41.5%). Twenty-one respondents (21/162; 13.0%) reported that they never administer inotropes to donors. Corticosteroid and thyroid hormone prescriptions for all donors was reported by 62/161 (37.6%) and 50/161 (31.1%) respondents, respectively. Respondents perceived an influence from ODO nurses or transplant physicians when prescribing corticosteroids (77/161; 47.8%) and/or thyroid hormones (33/161; 20.5%) CONCLUSION: We observed important variability in self-perceived practices of ICU physicians in the hemodynamic management of deceased donors, particularly in the treatment of the autonomic storm, in the prescription of hormone therapy, and in the administration of inotropes.
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