Background: At some American and European universities the dissection program is threatened by a shortage of anatomical specimens. In contrast, the annual numbers of registrations at the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) in the Netherlands increased substantially in recent years. Uncontrolled body registrations and an increasing number of incoming bodies urge institutes to halt registration. This is usually carried out on an ad hoc basis because to date no analyses were available to predict the consequences of such a stop, resulting in uncertainty about the number of incoming bodies or a shortage.
Methods: The UMCG holds a database consisting of two different data sets: registered potential body donors and records of deceased body donors. This database currently consists of 2357 potential body donors and 1363 deceased body donors. These data were incorporated in an actuarial predictive model.
Findings: A substantial number (on average 29%) of the persons registered between 2003-2008 died within l year after registration and seemed to have made a 'last-minute' donation decision. Last-minute registrations are significantly more likely to be males than females (n = 155 vs. n = 85, p <0.01%). This new information markedly influenced final modeling. In coherence with standard models of mortality, it was possible to construct a prediction for the incoming bodies for the coming years.
Conclusions: The present study provides the first method to reliably model the number of incoming deceased donors of a body donation program for 5 years based on actuarial predictions, and to orchestrate these numbers by partial donor registration stops. (C) 2009 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.