Record number of living donor kidney transplants last year

Fall in road traffic deaths in recent years reducing number of deceased donors

The transplant unit at the Mater hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The transplant unit at the Mater hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

 

A record 50 kidney transplants were carried out last year using organs provided by living donors, new figures show.

Overall, 280 organ transplants were carried out, the second highest yearly total since the programme began.

For the second year in a row, no pancreas transplants were performed but Minister for Health Simon Harris said the pancreatic transplant programme will restart when a suitable donor/recipient match is found.

Pancreatic transplants ceased in 2014 after the retirement of surgeon Dr David Hickey from Beaumont Hospital. The programme has since been moved to St Vincent’s Hospital.

Last year saw 172 kidney transplants, up from 153 in 2015. The highest number was recorded in 2013, when 185 kidney transplants were performed.

Finding deceased donors has become more difficult with the fall in road traffic deaths over recent years, but the living donor programme continues to grow. Last year, there were 77 deceased donors and 50 living donors, up from 33 in 2015.

In addition, 58 liver transplants were carried out at St Vincent’s last year, along with 35 lung transplants and 15 heart transplants at the Mater Hospital.

“Our strong performance in the areas of kidney, heart, lung and liver transplants can only be maintained through the donation of organs,” Mr Harris noted. “I would therefore encourage everyone to consider organ donor and to share this intention with your loved ones.”

The drawing up of legislation to provide for an opt-out register for organ donations was being prioritised, he added.