Organ donations, transplants drop in 2020

Tiffanie Turnbull
(Australian Associated Press)


More than 1200 Australians received a life-saving organ transplant in 2020, as COVID-19 impacted donor numbers and forced hospitals to scale back operations.

With 1270 patients receiving an organ from 463 deceased donors, the number of transplants fell 12 per cent from 2019, while the number of donors decreased by 16 per cent.

Flight reductions and border closures added to the complexity of the donation process during the pandemic.

“Most significantly, 18 per cent fewer kidney transplants were performed, resulting in 153 fewer renal patients receiving the kidney transplant they need,” federal minister responsible for the Organ and Tissue Authority, Mark Coulton, said.

Not all statistics were down in 2020, however, with the number of heart transplants jumping by 35 to 148.

Australia’s donation rate has doubled over the past decade, but Mr Coulton pleaded for more people to add themselves to the register of organ donors.

“Australians from all walks of life faced great challenges and adversity in 2020 and those waiting for life-changing organ transplants were no different,” he said.

“Around 1650 Australians are waitlisted for a transplant and more than 12,000 others are on dialysis — many of whom may need a kidney transplant.”

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