Non-heart-beating organ donation in Italy

P. M. Geraci, V. Sepe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 2007 the non-heart-beating organ donation (NHBD) "Programma Alba" (Sunrise Programme) started in Pavia, Italy. The initial plan was to cut down waiting list for kidney transplantation, while its final aim is to shorten organ transplantation waiting lists. When compared to European countries and the USA, the Italian NHBD program has taken longer to get established. Initially Italian physicians were not entirely aware of the NHBD organ viability for transplantation, furthermore ethical issues and the need to regulate medical requirements to Italian law slowed down the NHBD program. In particular, Italian legislation provides for death ascertainment after irreversible cardiac arrest, 20-minute flat electrocardiogram. This no-touch period is longer when compared to worldwide legislation, and organ viability has been a main concern for Italian transplant doctors over the years. However, recent data let up to 40-minute warm ischemia time to preserve organ viability; this has encouraged Pavia's group to establish the NHBD "Programma Alba". It was designed according to Italian legislation from death diagnosis to graft placement, from this perspective must the significant role of the Transplant coordinator be recognized. Since 2007 seven kidneys have been gathered from seven NHBD. Of these, six NHBD kidneys have been transplanted. Currently, four patients are out of dialysis. This report is a detailed description of NHBD "Programma Alba" and its preliminary results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)613-623
Number of pages11
JournalMinerva Anestesiologica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • Bioethics
  • Kidney transplantation
  • Tissue and organ procurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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