IKA appraises preliminary end of year figures for organ donation and transplantation

The Irish Kidney Association (IKA ) has welcomed the publication of preliminary organ donation and transplantation figures for 2022 by the HSE’s Organ Donation Transplant Ireland office.

The IKA acknowledges the kindness and generosity of the 86 deceased donors, and their families, who, in a time of great sorrow and personal pain, have thought of those in need of an organ transplant and are heartened to hear of the increase in organ donations and transplants compared to 2021 and 2020, starting to return to near pre-covid activity/levels.

The 33 living kidney donors in 2022 should also be applauded for stepping forward to help a family member or friend.

While welcoming the increase in transplantation numbers, the IKA believes the underpinning infrastructure is still fragile. For example, the November 2021 incident where an organ donation was not used due to a lack of resources. We await the recommendations of the investigation into this incident.

The increase in kidney transplants from the pre Covid-19 five-year period, 2015 to 2019 average of 128 to 163 in 2022 is very encouraging. However, living donor kidney transplants have yet to return to pre Covid-19 levels (33 living kidney transplants in 2022, compared to an average of 43 in the 2015 to 2019 period ). It is disappointing to see that the levels of heart and lung transplants have not recovered to pre Covid-19 activity levels and it would be interesting to understand the reasons for this. After the pause in the pancreas transplant programme some years ago, it is encouraging to see the increase in pancreas transplants, moving from an average of two in the pre Covid-19 period to eight in 2022.

The publication of the Human Tissue Bill, (which has yet to be passed into law ), is a major step forward in replacing the outdated Anatomy Act 1832. When transposed into law, how this proposed new legislation will be communicated to the public will be vital in ensuring the public are aware that organ donation is still subject to family consent, unless the loved one has previously opted out by entering details on the proposed new national opt out register. The proposed new legislation will also allow for altruistic living kidney donation where there is no relationship between the recipient and the organ donor. Currently such donors have to travel outside our jurisdiction to Northern Ireland or overseas in order to donate altruistically.

“I commend all those involved in the health service for the continuance of transplant activity under hugely difficult circumstances as we recover from the impact of Covid-19, with ongoing shortages in staffing, theatre spaces and beds. The generosity of spirit of the families of 86 deceased organ donor families has made it possible in their time of grief for 217 people to receive transplant operations in 2022. We also recognise the generosity of 33 living kidney donors who stepped forward to transform the lives of their family members and friends. As a result of both deceased and living donation, a total of 250 organ transplant operations took place throughout 2022 up until December 29,” Ms Carol Moore, Chief Executive of the Irish Kidney Association, commenting on the 2022 preliminary figures, said.


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