Beaumont Hospital

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Kidney Transplants up 150% in First Two Months

Thursday March 10, 2011

The number of kidney transplants in Ireland increased sharply in the first two months of this year compared to the same period last year.

Figures released today (Thursday 10th March, 2011) by the National Renal Transplant Programme at Beaumont Hospital reveal that 44 kidney transplants were completed in the first two months of 2011, six involving living related donors. This compares to a total of 17 transplants in the same period last year, four involving living related donors.

Over this period, therefore, the total number of kidney transplants rose by 153%, with the number involving deceased donors almost trebled.

Programme Director Mr David Hickey cautions that there can be considerable variation in the numbers of organs donated from month to month and even year to year. "In our view the most reliable way to identify meaningful trends in donation rates is to work on five year rolling averages, the approach generally used for international comparison. That said, it is very gratifying to see that the number of willing donations was well up at the beginning of this year," he said today.

"We have traditionally relied here on a voluntary approach to donation. We depend on the generosity of people willing to carry organ donor cards and to discuss their wishes in terms of organ donation with family members. We also rely on the goodwill of families to allow the organs of their loved ones to be donated."

"As people who deal with the close relatives of deceased donors on a daily basis, we understand just how important it is for them to have the right of choice. The freely made decision to donate affords enormous comfort to many families at a time of deep distress and we believe it is vital that this freedom should be respected."

Ireland enjoys a rate of voluntary organ donation well above average in the developed world. The rate of deceased donation can be improved further, Mr Hickey believes, by ensuring that willing donor families are identified and facilitated to the greatest possible extent throughout Ireland. The rate of renal transplant can also be improved by further expansion of the programme for living related donation, he notes.

Mr Hickey's comments come in advance of Organ Donor Awareness Week, which takes place from 2nd to 9th April this year.