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article imageCIHI reports demand for donated organs outpace supply in Canada

By Leigh Goessl     Feb 14, 2012 in Health
A newly released report on organ donation says that the demand in Canada for organs needed for transplant is higher than the supply.
The report, conducted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), compiles data from the Canadian Organ Replacement Register for the years 2001 to 2010. Findings indicates donor rates have "stagnated" since 2006; this includes both living and deceased donors.
The Winnipeg Free Press reported, Claire Marie Fortin, manager of clinical registries at the institute, said, "Organ donations, whether they're from living or dead donors, have remained relatively stagnant since 2006, and while that doesn't sound like a problem, the need for organs has actually increased considerably over the same time period," Fortin added, "So in fact the gap between organ donation and organ transplant is growing, and that's affecting quite a number of people."
The Feb. 13 press release outlines the details.
Statistics over the past decade
According to CIHI, in 2010 the living donor rate was 16.3 per million population, however, in 2006 the rate was at a higher 17.0. The deceased donor rate was 13.6 donors per million population in 2010, whereas it was cited as 14 donors per million population in 2006.
The agency stated in its press release that while the current rates are still above those registered in 2001, the latest results highlight a growing gap between the supply of organ donations verses the need.
“The number needing transplants continues to rise,” said Greg Webster, director of primary health care information and clinical registries at CIHI, reported the Globe and Mail. “The number of transplants being provided remains stable, so that means the gap is increasing.”
A Dec. 31, 2010 chart published by CIHI shows that kidney transplants are the most common. In 2010 the kidney transplants performed was 1,248, but at the end of the year, 3,362 individuals were still on the waiting list for a kidney. Liver transplants performed totaled 442 in 2010, while 501 people were listed as still waiting. For heart, 167 were performed and 135 individuals remained on the waiting list. Lung and pancreas transplants had waiting lists of 310 and 175 respectively, while 179 and 74 patients had transplants.
Waiting List on December 31  2010  Compared With Transplants Performed During 2010
Waiting List on December 31, 2010, Compared With Transplants Performed During 2010
Canadian Institute for Health Information
Highlights of the report
• Number of organ donors and number of transplants have remained essentially the same since 2006
• Canadians receiving a kidney from a deceased donor spent an average of 3.7 years on dialysis
• Patients receiving a kidney from an available living donor spent less than 1.5 years on dialysis
• 2010 saw over 5,600 patients newly diagnosed with kidney failure, this figure is doubled the number diagnosed in 1991 (2,600)
• In 2010, 229 people died while waiting for an organ donation
• Estimated costs for hemodialysis was cited as $60,000 per patient per year, whereas a kidney transplant is a $23,000 one-time cost with $6,000 per year for medications to "maintain the transplant." CHIH said a transplant is estimated to be about $250,000 less costly per patient with a transplant, and providing a much improved quality of life
• According to CIHI's data, 23,188 Canadians were on dialysis in 2010, and 16,164 were living with functioning kidney transplants
Organ donors are needed
Officials are worried about this growing gap of available organs verses the number of people in need as the demand continues to outpace supply.
"If the organ donation rate isn't keeping pace (with demand), we have far more people on dialysis waiting for a kidney and sadly some will die," Fortin said, reported Winnipeg Free Press. An increase in diabetes is also worrisome, as one in three people with kidney failure have diabetes.
The Toronto Star reported Dr. Gary Levy, medical director of Toronto General Hospital’s multi organ transplant program, said, “Because of the lack of organs we can’t list everybody who could benefit,” he said, noting only the sickest patients are put on waiting lists.
The full report is linked off CIHI's press release web page.
More about Canadian Institute for Health Information, Organ donors, organ transplants, Cihi
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