Spain close to record amount organ transplants for pandemic

by Lorraine Williamson
organ transplants

Spain sets new records for organ transplants and donations. In 2022, this figure rose again and is close to the record set before the pandemic. Spain also again performed the most transplants in the world in percentage terms.

In 2022, Spain performed an average of fifteen transplants per day, which amounts to a total of 5,383 transplants over the whole year. This figure is 13% more than in 2021. The increase in the number of transplants is close to the historical maximum established before the corona pandemic. In 2019, 5,445 transplants were performed in Spain. However, during the pandemic, the number of transplants was much lower for two years. 

Spain performs the most organ transplants in the world 

These figures were presented on Thursday by the National Transplant Organisation (ONT) in Spain. Spain is – relatively speaking – even the leader in terms of the number of organ transplants and donations: In Spain there are 46.3 donors per million inhabitants and 113.4 transplants take place per million inhabitants. 

An increase was seen in all types of transplants last year: In 2022, 3,402 kidney transplants were performed (15% more than a year earlier), 415 lung transplants (+15%), 1,159 liver transplants (+8%), 311 heart transplants (+3 %), 92 pancreas transplants (+12%) and 4 intestinal transplants. 

nederlandse orthopeed

Most and fewest transplants were performed in these regions 

The Spanish regional authorities receive an annual target from the ONT on the number of transplants that should be performed. Seven regions were far above the target, namely Cantabria, Navarra, Extremadura, La Rioja, the Basque Country, Asturias and the Canary Islands. The regions that performed the least in this respect were Madrid, Castile-La Mancha and Aragon. 

Profile of donors in Spain 

More than half (55.5%) of the donors died after a stroke and 4.3% as a result of a traffic accident. The average age of donors in Spain increased from 59 years in 2021 to 60 years in 2022. However, more than half of the donors were older than 60 years. Eight out of ten next of kin gave permission for donation after their loved one had died. However, 16% of the next of kin were not open to this. 

Waiting list still long in Spain 

Despite the high and increasing number of transplants, there are still many patients on the waiting list. On December 31, 2022, there were 4,746 of which 66 were children. Most people are waiting for a kidney (4,404), a liver (317), a lung (193), a heart (152), pancreas (76) and intestines (4). In the children, most of them are waiting for a kidney or heart, a liver, lung and intestines. 

Also read: Spain closes 2022 with substantially more road deaths than in 2021

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