A goal that is clearly stated in the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act for interactions between recovery agencies and coroners is “to maximize the opportunity to recover anatomical gifts for the purpose of transplantation or therapy.”
With a view to this purpose of maximizing transplants, the Public & Professional Relations Department conducted the following retroactive study.
For the period of July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018, a total of 193 eye donation cases that were recovered under a coroner's jurisdiction were individually reviewed and the case notes read to determine the sequence of events. We sought to answer the following questions for each case:
1. Was the coroner release before or after the autopsy?
2. What was the time between death and preservation?
3. Where did the recovery take place?
4. Was it a shared case with Donor Alliance?
5. Were the corneas transplanted?
6. What was the transplant rate?
7. Were there any complicating factors (difficulty reaching family, delays for transport to DARC, etc.)?
• The transplant rate for all coroner cases is significantly higher than other cases.
• Pre-autopsy released corneas have the highest transplant rate.
• Post-autopsy released corneas still have a higher transplant rate than other cases.
The time between death and preservation of the tissue is a critical part of corneal viability. Lower times generally lead to higher transplant rates.