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Estimation of potential deceased organ donors in CanadaBACKGROUND: Development of strategies to increase deceased organ donation is dependent on timely, accurate information regarding the number of potential deceased organ donors. Our objective was to estimate the number of potential deceased organ donors in Canada. METHODS: This was a retrospective analysis of information captured from hospital separations in Canadian provinces with the exception of Quebec between 2005 and 2009. We studied individuals 70 years or younger who died in hospital. Our primary outcome measure was potential deceased organ donors (identified by the presence of diagnostic codes compatible with donation, the absence of contraindications to donation defined by Canadian Standards, and the use of mechanical ventilation). RESULTS: Among 335 793 hospital deaths, 8274 potential donors were identified. The study method was 81% sensitive and 93% specific for identification of potential donors, and overestimated potential donors by a factor of 1.6- to 2.1-fold when compared to information from chart audits. After accounting for this overestimation, there are conservatively 400 unrecognized potential deceased donors in Canada annually. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest there may be significant potential to increase deceased organ donations in Canada. Further studies to fully characterize the number of potential donors identified by the study method are needed.