CDTRP TGLN Ontario Health Research Innovation Grant awardee – Pilot Study to Explore Ethical Issues and Stakeholder Trust in the Use of Normothermic Regional Perfusion in Organ Donation in Canada (Charles Weijer)
Through collaboration with partner organizations, CDTRP is pleased to offer our annual Research Innovation Grant competition to fund exciting new project ideas. Over the coming weeks, we will be profiling all of the projects funded in the 2021 competition.
“Congratulations to Dr. Weijer and his team for receiving a grant for their exciting project. We look forward to the results of their study in this important area. Supporting innovation in donation and transplantation has always been a top priority for Ontario Health (Trillium Gift of Life Network), and we want to thank all applicants for their interest in and commitment to the advancement of science in this field.”
– Janet MacLean, Vice President Donation, Ontario Health (Trillium Gift of Life Network)
Funded through a CDTRP TGLN Ontario Health Research Innovation Grant
Title: Pilot Study to Explore Ethical Issues and Stakeholder Trust in the Use of Normothermic Regional Perfusion in Organ Donation in Canada
- Principal investigator: Charles Weijer
- Main affiliation: Western University
- Part of Theme 1
Organ donation after circulatory death has increased the number of organs available for people awaiting a transplant in Canada. Yet because the dying process deprives organs of oxygen, with each passing minute organs are damaged. As a result, the full potential of donation after circulatory death has not been realized: donated organs have worse function in recipients—and some organs cannot be used for transplantation. Normothermic regional perfusion is an innovative surgical technology that seeks to reverse organ injury by mechanically circulating oxygenated blood inside the donor’s body after their death. However, normothermic regional perfusion raises ethical concerns which have slowed its adoption in Canada. These ethical issues have never been systematically described, nor has their potential impact on trust in deceased donation been explored. Because stakeholder trust in organ donation is indispensable, there is an urgent need to understand stakeholder perspectives on normothermic regional perfusion before it is used in Canada. Our pilot project will identify the ethical issues in normothermic regional perfusion and develop a model of how these may impact trust in donation. We will conduct a review of the medical and bioethical literature, conduct interviews with deceased donor families, transplant recipients, health care professionals and institutional stakeholders in the donation community, and hold focus groups with healthcare providers. The findings of our study will lay the foundation for future work aimed at developing solutions to these ethical issues and developing policy to guide the implementation and use of normothermic regional perfusion in Canada.