Organ Transplants Goes Down in Covid Times

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The number of organ transplants performed during the first wave of Covid 19  in 2020 went down by 31 per cent when compared to 2019, revealed a study presented at the European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT) Congress 2021.

The study also noted that the delay resulted in more than 48,000 years of patient life loss. The researchers looked into data from 22 countries across four continents. They pointed out variations in the response of transplant programmes to Covid-19 pandemic, with activities dropping by more than 90 per cent in some countries.


The report said that kidney transplantation saw the largest reduction across all countries. The researchers came across a decrease in living donor kidney (-40 per cent) and liver (-33 per cent) transplants. For deceased donor transplants, there was a reduction in kidney (-12 per cent), liver (-9 per cent), lung (-17 per cent) and heart (-5 per cent) transplants.

Lancet Public Health published the report. In the report, the researchers said that some countries managed to sustain the rate of transplant procedures whilst others experienced serious reductions. In some areas countries, living donor kidney and liver transplantation ceased completely. Overall, there was a strong temporal association between increased Covid19 infection rate and reductions in deceased and living solid organ transplants.


Lead author Dr Olivier Aubert (assistant Professor at the Paris Translational Research Centre for Organ Transplantation), said that the first wave of Covid-19 had a devastating impact on the number of transplants across many countries. It affected patient waiting lists and regrettably leading to a substantial loss of life, Aubert added. Professor Alexandre Loupy (head of the Paris Translational Research Center for Organ Transplantation and another author of the study), said: living donor transplantation, which reduced more substantially, requires significant resources and planning compared to deceased donor transplantation. This is extremely difficult during a pandemic when

Resources are stretched and staff redeployed. There are also major ethical concerns for the wellbeing and safety of the donor.”

The report noted that the estimated numbers of life-years lost were 37,664 years for patients waitlisted for a kidney, 7,370 for a liver, 1,799 s for a lung and 1,406 for a heart, corresponding to a total 48,239 life years lost.


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