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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017, Article ID 7518375, 6 pages
Review Article

Organ Donation and Elective Ventilation: A Necessary Strategy

1Intensive Care Unit, Central University Hospital of Asturias, Oviedo, Spain
2Unit of Transplants, Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine, Central University Hospital of Asturias, Oviedo, Spain

Correspondence should be addressed to Dolores Escudero; ten.acinofelet@oreducsealol

Received 17 August 2016; Accepted 21 December 2016; Published 15 January 2017

Academic Editor: Aaron S. Dumont

Copyright © 2017 Dolores Escudero et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Organ transplantation is the sole treatment to improve or save the life of patients with final-stage organ failure. The shortage of available organs for transplantation constitutes a universal problem, estimating that 10% of patients on waiting lists die. Brain death is an undesirable result; nevertheless, it has beneficial side-effects since it is the most frequent source of organs for transplantation. However, this phenomenon is relatively uncommon and has a limited potential. One of the options that focuses on increasing organ donation is to admit patients with catastrophic brain injuries (with a high probability of brain death and nontreatable) to the Intensive Care Unit, with the only purpose of donation. To perform elective nontherapeutic ventilation (ENTV), a patient’s anticipated willingness to donate organs and/or explicit acceptance by his/her relatives is required. This process should focus exclusively on those patients with catastrophic brain injuries and imminent risk of death which, due to its acute damage, are not considered treatable. This article defends ENTV as an effective strategy to improve donation rate, analyzing its ethical and legal basis.