Reducing donor acceptance practice variation – Learnings from a discussion forum


Although waitlist mortality is unacceptably high, nearly half of donor heart offers are rejected by pediatric heart transplant centers. The Advanced Cardiac Therapy Improving Outcome Network (ACTION) and Pediatric Heart Transplant Society (PHTS) convened a multi-institutional donor decision discussion forum (DDDF) aimed at assessing donor acceptance practices and reducing practice variation.


A 1-h-long virtual DDDF for providers across North America, the United Kingdom, and Brazil was held monthly. Each session typically included two case presentations posing a real-world donor decision challenge. Attendees were polled before the presenting centerʼs decision was revealed. Group discussion followed, including a review of relevant literature and PHTS data. Metrics of participation, participant agreement with presenting center decisions, and impact on future decision-making were collected and analyzed.


Over 2 years, 41 cases were discussed. Approximately 50 clinicians attended each call. Risk factors influencing decision-making included donor quality (10), size discrepancy (8), and COVID-19 (8). Donor characteristics influenced 63% of decisions, recipient factors 35%. Participants agreed with the decision made by the presenting center only 49% of the time. Post-presentation discussion resulted in 25% of participants changing their original decision. Survey conducted reported that 50% respondents changed their donor acceptance practices.


DDDF identified significant variation in pediatric donor decision-making among centers. DDDF may be an effective format to reduce practice variation, provide education to decision-makers, and ultimately increase donor utilization.

This ACTION study was published on November 13, 2023 in the Pediatric Translation. Congratulations to the authors:

  • Neha Bansal
  • Aamir Jeewa
  • Kae Watanabe
  • Marc E. Richmond
  • Anaam Alzubi
  • Nikita D’Souza
  • Maria Bano
  • Angela Lorts
  • David N. Rosenthal
  • Katie Taylor
  • Catherine O’Shea
  • Lauren Smyth
  • Devin Koehl
  • Hong Zhao
  • Seth A. Hollander

Bansal, N, Jeewa, A, Watanabe, K, et al. Reducing donor acceptance practice variation – Learnings from a discussion forum. Pediatric Transplantation. 2023; 00:e14635. doi:10.1111/petr.14635