• Monday, November 28, 2022

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Organ transplants in UK ‘fell by a third during pandemic’

In the UK as of March 2021 there were 4,256 patients on the waiting list for a transplant. (iStock Image)

By: Sattwik Biswal

ORGAN transplants in the UK fell by almost a third last year, a study published in The Lancet says.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced many transplants getting delayed or cancelled because the procedures carry a high level of risk of infection. Also patients having undergone organ transplant need time in hospital to recover, but in the ongoing pandemic scenario all the resources were diverted to treat coronavirus cases.

Dr Olivier Aubert, assistant professor, Paris Translational Research Centre for Organ Transplantation, led the research and collated data from 22 countries, including the UK.

Overall there has been a decrease of 16 per cent across the 22 nations under study in 2020, when compared with 2019. However, figures for the UK as a whole was 31 per cent.

According to the data, A total of 1,298 fewer transplants were done in 2020 than 2019, with the maximum (1,076) being kidney transplants.

The figures show that in the UK in 2019 there was between 25 and 30 organ transplants being done every day. However, in spring 2020, the rate came down to less than seven a day nationwide, as Covid cases soared and the country went into lockdown.

‘Devastating impact’

“The first wave of Covid-19 had a devastating impact on the number of transplants across many countries, affecting patient waiting lists and regrettably leading to a substantial loss of life,” said Dr Aubert.

Data from the UK was obtained from the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), and two experts from the NHS were co-authors of the study.

In the latest annual report from the NHS body, it revealed that as of March 2021 there were 4,256 patients on the waiting list for a transplant. It is estimated that the waiting list will top 7,000 by the end of 2021 as clinicians clear the backlog of new cases, and suspended cases.

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