System progress data show continued improvement in deceased organ donation rates


Monday, January 28, 2019

In 2017, the generous gifts of 1,335 organ donors and 4,969 tissue donors and their families saved or improved the lives of thousands of Canadian patients.

Canada has shown a sustained improvement in deceased organ donation, representing a remarkable increase of 51 per cent since 2008. The 2017 data, released today in the Organ Donation and Transplantation System Progress Report – 2017, shows Canada nearing 22 donors per million population (dpmp), a rate that puts our nation on par with Australia and the UK.

Another indicator of a successful system is the degree to which the system utilizes each donor's gift. The data shows that Canada’s organ utilization rate is very high and ranks among the highest in the world. With three organs transplanted, on average, from every donor, this rate is better than top-performing countries like Australia, Spain, the US and the UK.

The results reflected in this report represent the individual and collective work of the provincial and territorial partners, organ donation programs, and transplant programs as well as the national efforts led by Canadian Blood Services.

While the nation’s collective performance in deceased organ donation and transplantation is encouraging, living donation rates nationally (and internationally) have seen a slight decline. And, for every patient in Canada who receives a life-saving organ transplant, there are two on a waitlist. In 2017, 242 Canadians died while waiting for a suitable transplant opportunity. There is much work yet to be done.

Quick stats from the 2017 System Progress

  • In 2017, the generous gifts of 1,335 organ donors and 4,969 tissue donors and their families saved or improved the lives of thousands of Canadian patients.
  • In 2017, 2,979 transplant procedures were performed in Canada. Of the total transplants in 2017 in Canada, 82%, were from deceased donors, and 18% were from living donors.
  • Canada’s national deceased donation rate has increased by 51% since 2008, from 14.4 to 21.8 dpmp in 2017.
  • In 2017, there were 802 deceased organ donors in Canada, 44 more than the 758 reported in 2016. In addition, there were 533 living organ donors.
  • In 2017, the living donation rate was 14.5 dpmp, down 3% from 15.0 dpmp in 2016. This rate— which is primarily made up of kidney donors—has decreased by 11% since 2008.
  • Canada still has a shortage of organs, with approximately 4,333 patients waiting for transplants at year’s end 2017.
  • In 2017, 242 Canadians died while waiting for a transplant, down from 260 in 2016.

As a system, Canada’s organ and tissue donation and transplantation collective has demonstrated that patients with the highest need and who are most difficult to match benefit when organs are shared across provincial boundaries. As a nation, we have the recipe for system improvement: when the key elements are implemented, marked improvement is achieved. By working together to ensure these key elements are in place, we will continue to save lives.” ~ Dr. Graham Sher, CEO, Canadian Blood Services.

Read the full report:  Organ Donation and Transplantation in Canada: System Progress Report – 2017 Update

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