Information for the public

About this information

NICE clinical guidelines advise the NHS on caring for people with specific conditions or diseases and the treatments they should receive. The information applies to people using the NHS in England and Wales.

This information explains the advice about improving identification and consent rates for organ donation that is set out in NICE clinical guideline 135.

Does this information apply to me?

Yes, if you are a family member, relative or legal guardian of a patient (an adult or child) who is a potential donor through brainstem death and circulatory death (see box below).

The guideline also looks at seeking consent from the patients where possible.

The guideline does not specifically look at:

  • consent on organ donation from anyone other than families, relatives and legal guardians of potential donors through brainstem death and circulatory death

  • donation of organs from living donors.

Explanations of terms

Brainstem death

Death is diagnosed after the brainstem (the part of the brain immediately above the spinal cord) stops functioning, and is confirmed using specific criteria.

Circulatory death

Death is confirmed by a doctor after cardiac arrest (where the heart stops beating).

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