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Reuse of cardiac organs in transplantation: an ethical analysis

Published on Dec 1, 2018in BMC Medical Ethics2.507
· DOI :10.1186/s12910-018-0316-z
Eisuke Nakazawa3
Estimated H-index: 3
(UTokyo: University of Tokyo),
Shoichi Maeda5
Estimated H-index: 5
(Keio: Keio University)
+ 5 AuthorsAkira Akabayashi1
Estimated H-index: 1
(NYU: New York University)
Abstract
This paper examines the ethical aspects of organ transplant surgery in which a donor heart is transplanted from a first recipient, following determination of death by neurologic criteria, to a second recipient. Retransplantation in this sense differs from that in which one recipient undergoes repeat heart transplantation of a newly donated organ, and is thus referred to here as “reuse cardiac organ transplantation.” Medical, legal, and ethical analysis, with a main focus on ethical analysis. From the medical perspective, it is critical to ensure the quality and safety of reused organs, but we lack sufficient empirical data pertaining to medical risk. From the legal perspective, a comparative examination of laws in the United States and Japan affirms no illegality, but legal scholars disagree on the appropriate analysis of the issues, including whether or not property rights apply to transplanted organs. Ethical arguments supporting the reuse of organs include the analogous nature of donation to gifts, the value of donations as inheritance property, and the public property theory as it pertains to organs. Meanwhile, ethical arguments such as those that address organ recycling and identity issues challenge organ reuse. We conclude that organ reuse is not only ethically permissible, but even ethically desirable. Furthermore, we suggest changes to be implemented in the informed consent process prior to organ transplantation. The organ transplant community worldwide should engage in wider and deeper discussions, in hopes that such efforts will lead to the timely preparation of guidelines to implement reuse cardiac organ transplantation as well as reuse transplantation of other organs such as kidney and liver.
  • References (27)
  • Citations (1)
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#1Radhika Rao (University of California, Berkeley)H-Index: 4
Recent cases involving biosamples taken from indigenous tribes and newborn babies reveal the emptiness of informed consent. This venerable doctrine often functions as a charade, a collective fiction which thinly masks the uncomfortable fact that the subjects of human research are not actually afforded full information regarding the types of research that may be contemplated, nor do they provide meaningful consent. But if informed consent fails to provide adequate protection to the donors of biol...
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Abstract Kidney transplantation is the most desired modality of renal replacement therapy for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). We have attempted to expand the organ donor pool through several methods, including the use of expanded donor criteria. Although previously transplanted kidneys are rarely reused, they can be suitable for transplantation into patients in need. We report a case of successful reuse of a previously transplanted kidney from a deceased donor by means of Luminex v...
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Beginning at age 11 years, our patient has had four heart transplants. Now, 26 years later at age 37, he is fully active. This case is presented to document a unique experience and to consider the difficult decision-making process and ethical issues of multiple cardiac retransplantation.
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In this article, we perform a thought experiment about living donor kidney transplantation. If a living kidney donor becomes in need of renal replacement treatment due to dysfunction of the remaining kidney after donation, can the donor ask the recipient to give back the kidney that had been donated? We call this problem organ restitution and discussed it from the ethical viewpoint. Living organ transplantation is a kind of ‘designated donation’ and subsequently has a contract-like character. Fi...
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