Pediatric Donation after Circulatory Determination of Death (pDCD): Development and Implementation of Canadian Guidelines

Last modified by Ann Watkins on 2017/03/23 21:29

Currently, only a small portion of DCD cases in Canada are those involving pediatric donors and the need for organs for children waitlisted for transplantation is not being met.

Facilitating donation of deceased donor organs is a complex process. It requires careful management of the patient who is a potential organ donor to ensure that the patient’s or family’s wishes to donate vital organs is honoured. The process requires skillful coordination between multiple stakeholders while also supporting families of patients who are potential donors and the health professionals who care for them. A multitude of medical and logistic issues have the potential to prevent a donation from proceeding, which could rob both donor families from an opportunity to donate, and limit waitlisted patients' access to life saving transplantation. The stress of dealing with the imminent death of a pediatric patient only increases the emotional and logistic complexity, and thus the need for clear guidance to ensure optimal management.

To address this, Canadian Blood Services in partnership with the Canadian Paediatric Society and other professional organizations, and led by Dr. Matthew Weiss, have developed national, evidence based pediatric specific clinical practice guidelines to assist program administrators and clinicians in implementing critical components of pediatric DCD programs, while ensuring optimal quality of care.

This webinar will provide an understanding of the process used to develop these national clinical practice guidelines, highlight key considerations related to implementation, and provide an opportunity for discussion with Canadian experts in paediatric deceased donation.


Currently, only a small portion of DCD cases in Canada are those involving pediatric donors and the need for organs for children waitlisted for transplantation is not being met.

Facilitating donation of deceased donor organs is a complex process. It requires careful management of the patient who is a potential organ donor to ensure that the patient’s or family’s wishes to donate vital organs is honoured. The process requires skillful coordination between multiple stakeholders while also supporting families of patients who are potential donors and the health professionals who care for them. A multitude of medical and logistic issues have the potential to prevent a donation from proceeding, which could rob both donor families from an opportunity to donate, and limit waitlisted patients' access to life saving transplantation. The stress of dealing with the imminent death of a pediatric patient only increases the emotional and logistic complexity, and thus the need for clear guidance to ensure optimal management.

To address this, Canadian Blood Services in partnership with the Canadian Paediatric Society and other professional organizations, and led by Dr. Matthew Weiss, have developed national, evidence based pediatric specific clinical practice guidelines to assist program administrators and clinicians in implementing critical components of pediatric DCD programs, while ensuring optimal quality of care.

This webinar will provide an understanding of the process used to develop these national clinical practice guidelines, highlight key considerations related to implementation, and provide an opportunity for discussion with Canadian experts in paediatric deceased donation.

Click here to download the presentation slides.

weiss.jpgDr. Matthew Weiss is a paediatric intensivist working in Quebec City at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec since 2010. His interest in deceased donation began after experiencing the disappointment of a potential donor’s family who were unable to pursue donation after circulatory death (DCD) because his hospital was unprepared to offer the service. Since then, he has worked to develop national and local deceased donation guidelines, starting with national recommendations on how to establish paediatric DCD programs.

amber.jpgAmber Appleby is the Associate Director of Deceased Donation and Transplantation at Canadian Blood Services, and is responsible for leading and supporting national initiatives that contribute to improving deceased donation system quality and performance in Canada. Prior to CBS, in her role as Provincial Director of Operations for BC Transplant, she led the implementation of a system realignment that has contributed to sustained increases in the organ donation and transplant rate in BC. Her fifteen years of experience working in a variety of healthcare settings, and twelve years of
experience in administrative healthcare roles have contributed to her passion for development of best practices and health system improvements.

Amber is an experienced critical care leader who and has managed Intensive Care Units (ICUs) at the former Matsqui-Sumas- Abbotsford Hospital (now Abbotsford Regional), Vancouver General Hospital and  St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. In her role as Operations Leader of the ICU at St Paul’s, she led the implementation of the first donation after cardiac death policy in Western Canada and subsequently the first donation after cardio-circulatory death case in BC in 2008.

She completed her Registered Nurse training at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 2000, specialty training in Intensive Care at Foothills Medical Center in Alberta in 2001, Bachelor of Science at the University of British Columbia in 2004, and is a candidate for graduation from an International
Masters for Health Leadership program at McGill University in June 2017.