One of the options is correct

Kidney can be taken from a dying person who has the

a) cessation of neurological function only

b) cessation of cardiac function only

c) cessation of respiratory function only

d) cessation of kidney function only

I think that answer should be b. as if heart stops working then the person is definitely dead. but m not sure if on the cessation of neurological/respiratory function, one still has chance of revivial. Moreover answer is given as A. I don't know how. Could it be that on cessation of cardiac/respiratory function, kidney gets damaged while not so in case of neurological dysfunction?

  • $\begingroup$ This link describes the different ways of diagnosing/confirming death prior to organ donation. It might help answering your question. $\endgroup$
    – skymningen
    Feb 14, 2014 at 13:40
  • $\begingroup$ I amn't really sure - but the answer given is A may be because there are many cases where cardiac function has been restored after hours of its cessation $\endgroup$
    – biogirl
    Feb 14, 2014 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


There are actually very few situations where organs can be harvested from donors. For all deceased donor transplants, the donor must be confirmed as being brain dead (both brain stem and higher cortical functions). However, in order for the organs to remain viable they must not become ischaemic - which is obviously a huge problem when the patients heart has stopped beating. For this reason most patients who die and go on to become organ donors were already on a ventilator in intensive care in order to keep their blood oxygenated and circulating to perfuse their organs.

Kidneys are listed by NHSBT as a special case where a ventillator may not be required in advance to maintain viability - offhand I'm not sure why this would be - however to answer your question:

A. Neurological death - correct answer - the patient must be deceased without chance of recovery (hence brainstem and cortical death)

B. Cardiac function - were this to stop unilaterally then the patient may still be recoverable whilst the organs may be damaged due to lack of perfusion and thus not be viable for transplant

C. Respiratory function - almost identical to the cessation of cardiac function (and indeed will lead onto it very quickly)

D. Renal function - there's no point transplanting useless kidneys!

Have a look through the NHS Blood and Transplant Organ Donation site linked above, it's a great and trustworthy resource.

  • $\begingroup$ There's dead, and there's mostly dead. Let's not give up on the "dying" pt who may only be in renal failure. :) $\endgroup$
    – Atl LED
    Feb 20, 2014 at 4:29
  • $\begingroup$ @AtlLED I'm not following you? $\endgroup$
    – Rory M
    Feb 20, 2014 at 22:19

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