Medical tests and procedures

Routine medical tests and procedures will be carried out shortly before or after the death of a donor to ensure that transplantation is likely to be safe, successful and a suitable match for somebody on the transplant waiting list.

The tests and procedures

The following tests and procedures are carried out in a hospital intensive care unit, by highly skilled health professionals in NHS Scotland with the greatest care and respect, as is the case for any medical procedure.

These tests and procedures, and the information they provide for diagnostic purposes, have been carried out in the UK to facilitate donation and transplantation since 2003. Without these taking place, donation won’t be able to proceed.

This means that:

  • If a person registers to be a donor, they will be authorising these procedures to be carried out
  • If a person hasn’t registered an opt out decision and are deemed to have authorised donation, it will be assumed that the person is willing for these routine procedures and tests to be carried out

Specialist nurses will always speak to family and friends to check that a person who may become a donor would not have been unwilling for these procedures and tests to happen.

On very rare occasions there may be a need to carry out further, more invasive medical tests and procedures, but only if the routine medical tests and procedures would not give enough information for a safe and successful transplant.  

However, it won’t be assumed that you agree to these procedures, which means they will only go ahead with your family’s agreement.