231 transplants made possible after 'exceptional year' for organ donation

231 transplants made possible after 'exceptional year' for organ donation

It has been another strong year for organ donation in Ireland with 231 transplants made possible by the generosity of 80 donors, with many donating multiple organs.

Across the three national transplant centres 120 kidneys, 18 hearts, 27 lungs, 56 liver and five pancreas surgeries were completed.

In addition, living donors gave kidneys to enhance the lives of 37 patients this year.

Director of HSE Organ Donation Transplant Ireland, Prof Jim Egan, said there had been a consistent robust rate of organ donation and transplant this year.

The strong performance followed a record year in 2017 when 311 transplants were completed.

In 2017 there were 99 deceased organ donations and 51 living donor kidney transplants.

Compared to 2016 there was a 29% increase in deceased organ donations and an 11% increase in transplants.

Kidneys made up most of the transplants in 2017 (192), followed by liver (62), lungs (36) and hearts (16). There were 5 simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplants.

Prof Egan said 2017 was an “exceptional year” for both organ donation and transplant surgery.

He pointed out that the level of activity this year was what would normally be expected.

Proposed legislation allowing “a soft opt-out” system of organ donation in Ireland will be considered by the Government towards the end of next month.

Under the Human Tissues Bill, consent will be deemed to have been granted unless the person, while alive, registered their wish not to become an organ donor.

The “soft” element is that the next of kin will always be consulted before any organ is removed.

Prof Egan said putting the infrastructure in place to support families of donors was just as important as the planned legislation.

“There is a trend towards a sustainable number of donations and transplants and we hope to build on that in the future,” he said.

Prof Egan pointed out that Ireland had quite a good rate of organ donation relative to the rest of Europe

"We will continue to champion organ donation because organ donation saves lives," he said.

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