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Medical issues drove large decrease in living donor transplants

Last year’s significant reduction in living kidney donor transplants has been attributed to various factors, including medical suitability, the Medical Independent has been informed.

In 2019, there were 25 living donor transplants, a marked drop from 40 such transplants performed in the previous year, and just half of the total performed in 2017 (51) and 2016 (50).

A spokesperson for HSE Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland (ODTI) said 2019 was a “very busy year” for the living kidney donor programme, which is based at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.

During the year, 199 potential donors were tissue-typed for 112 potential recipients. Ninety-five donors were assessed medically and underwent investigations to determine suitability to proceed with donation. 

This activity level was higher than in 2018, when 156 potential donors underwent tissue-typing and 85 proceeded to the assessment service.

“Of the 95 potential donors assessed in 2019, the conversion rate to completing a living donor transplant was 25…  due to a number of factors,” according to ODTI.

“These factors included donors not found to be immunologically compatible with the recipient, the donor not medically suitable or donor choice regarding timing of surgery.”

In some cases, recipients received a deceased donor transplant when a living donor transplant had originally been contemplated.

In total, there were 153 kidney transplants performed in 2019, compared with 167 in 2018.

Irish Kidney Association CEO Mr Mark Murphy expressed disappointment with the number of kidney transplants from deceased donors. Mr Murphy noted there were 85 deceased donors (potentially 170 kidneys), but 128 transplants conducted.

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