Document Detail

Anencephalic infants: life expectancy and organ donation.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  2709149     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Between 1978 and 1982, 205 anencephalic infants weighing more than 2,500 g were born alive in California. Although typically none were offered significant support, almost 9% lived more than one week. It seems reasonable to assume that modern intensive care would have increased survival times dramatically. In fact, preliminary data from centers specializing in neonatal organ transplantation demonstrate that seven to 14 days of ventilatory support can be accomplished for anencephalic infants without occurrence of brainstem death. Given these data and medical information that clearly establishes anencephalic infants as a "special case" of children who have not suffered brain death but could reasonably be used as organ donors, we believe that parents who wish to do so should be allowed to continue ventilatory support for their anencephalic children for whatever period of time is necessary to find organ recipients and arrange for organ donation. Arbitrary cutoff points for intensive care and artificial criteria for brain death should not be necessary to allow the use of anencephalic infants as organ donors. We believe that current laws should be changed to permit this scenario.
J J Pomerance; A Morrison; R L Williams; B S Schifrin
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of perinatology : official journal of the California Perinatal Association     Volume:  9     ISSN:  0743-8346     ISO Abbreviation:  J Perinatol     Publication Date:  1989 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1989-06-01     Completed Date:  1989-06-01     Revised Date:  2004-11-18    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8501884     Medline TA:  J Perinatol     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  33-7     Citation Subset:  E; IM    
Department of Pediatrics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048.
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MeSH Terms
Brain Death*
Ethics, Medical*
Infant, Newborn
Life Expectancy*
Parental Consent
Respiration, Artificial
Tissue Donors
Tissue and Organ Procurement / legislation & jurisprudence*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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