Organ donations have increased by 57% in Ontario after a new donation policy was implemented in 2006. The new policy allowed for donation of organs after circulatory determination of death (DCD), replacing the old rule that called for donations only after neurologic determination of death, or brain death, has been established. DCD donations have expanded the donor pool and helped address the transplant waitlist issue for solid organs, according to study authors. Patients waiting on transplants had access to more hearts, kidneys, liver and lungs coming from DCD donors. In a related commentary, Dr. Sam Shemie of Montreal Children’s Hospital and McGill University Health Centre & Research Institute, and medical advisor for Deceased Organ Donation, Canadian Blood Services, says that the research paper shows Ontario has seen a rise in numbers of transplants in the province over a 12-year period that is almost entirely attributable to DCD.


Vivek Rao, MD PhD⇑, Sonny Dhanani, MD, Janet MacLean, RD MBA, Clare Payne, RN, Elizabeth Paltser, MSc, Atul Humar, MD, Jeffrey Zaltzman, MD

Corresponding author:

Vivek Rao, Division of Cardiovascular Surgery, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, University of Toronto, ON, Email:

Original paper published in CMAJ on September 25, 2017.