Hospitals catch up on coronavirus organ transplant backlog
The number of organ transplants fell enormously in some countries during the coronavirus crisis, but in the Netherlands, they were able to continue for the most part, according to the Dutch Transplant Foundation (NTS). In total, 36 fewer transplants were performed in the Netherlands last year compared to 2019 and the damage has now been made up.
In 2019, there had been 770 organ transplants, whereas in 2020 there had been 734. Around 30 percent of the donation procedures expired in March and April, 2020 In previous years during the same period, an average of 18 percent of organ transplants were not performed for a number of reasons, such as that the organ was not suitable. The excess number of transplants not performed during the pandemic has now fallen to 15 percent.
At the same time, the number of organ transplants from deceased donors has increased by 10 percent compared to the same period in 2020. Tissue donation has also considerably improved. “There is talk of an enormous increase in the number of tissue donations in the first eight months of 2021, with a 32 percent increase compared to the same period in 2020,” NTS said.
The coronavirus took its toll because, among other reasons, donors in the intensive care may have been infected with the virus, according to the foundation. “Organs from a number of donors could not be used due to lack of capacity or a positive coronavirus test,” the organization explained.
It also could take some time before the results of the deceased person’s coronavirus test were known in which period some relatives withdrew their consent.
Kidney transplants for people over 65 were also temporarily suspended because senior citizens are more sensitive to the coronavirus.
“In the Netherlands, medical professionals and everyone else involved in a donation or transplant procedure have done everything they can to ensure that the life-saving organ transplants go ahead,” NTS director, Bernadette Haase, said.
Currently, the influx of patients is normal at around 100 to 150 patients per month.
Reporting by ANP.