Organ donation and transplantation rates continue to grow

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Organ donation and transplantation rates continue to grow

Spain is the only country in the world to have more kidney patients who have had a transplant than those who are undergoing dialysis treatment
Spain is the only country in the world to have more kidney patients who have had a transplant than those who are undergoing dialysis treatment

Solidarity and awareness regarding organ donation and transplantation in Spain are growing. The figures for the first months of 2017 indicate there was a 10% increase as compared to the same period last year. This means a new record could be hit, with around 5000 transplants and 45 donors per million people.

By organs involved, transplant rates grew as follows vis-à-vis last year: pancreas, 45%; heart, 28.6%; lung, 18%; liver, 11%; and kidney, 7%.

The reasons for this growth are to be found in the implementation of measures developed in recent years, such as the programme for donations after cardiac arrest or asystole, which rose by 17%. Today, up to 79 Spanish hospitals form part of this programme (in 2016, there were only 68).

Last year, there were 494 donors after asystole (+57% over 2015). They made 24% of the total number, which means that 1 out 4 donors were asystolic donors.

Another reason for the rise recorded this year is the efficiency of emergency services. The commitment and hard work of emergency doctors is in part responsible for the increase in the number of donors: 24% donors were in fact ER patients in the hospitals surveyed.

Encouraging living donation

These promising figures were announced yesterday by Rafael Matesanz, who was Director of Spain’s National Transplant Organisation (ONT) for 28 years until March this year. The announcement was made at the 14th National Meeting of Organ Transplant Coordinators and Communication Professionals, held in Zaragoza.

Matesanz said the fact that Spain has been the world leader in organ donation and transplantation for 25 years is due to the country’s successful donation system and to the efforts made by the ONT, doctors and the Spanish society as a whole. Thanks to this, Spanish patients who are waiting for a transplant have the highest chances in the world of getting the organs they need.

World leader

The Spanish transplant model is a reference in terms of organ donation worldwide. Over the past 25 years, Spain has been the world leader in terms of organ donations per capita. In 2016, our country hit the record of 43.4 donors per million people, with 2018 donors and 4818 solid organ transplants. This achievement turned our transplant model into an example to be followed by many other countries.