(Agencies) The public hospitals of Andalucía carried out 426 organ and tissue transplants during the first seven months of the year, against 382 for the same period last year. Live donations almost doubled from 14 in 2008 to 27 this year.>Live and deceased donations amounted to 204 between January and July 2009, which places Andalucía at the top of the world list with 37 donations per million inhabitants, over the median in Spain (34.2 per million), the European (18) and even the USA (26).
Of the total donations in Andalucía, 177 came from organs donated by deceased people and 27 from live patients, all for kidneys. The transplants carried out from these donors break down as follows: 241 kidneys (27 live and 8 infants), 123 livers (8 infants), 28 hearts (3 infants), 20 lungs and 14 pancreas.
There were an additional 750 patients receiving tissue transplants such as corneas, heart valves and bone tissue, among others.
The breakdown per hospital: Córdoba’s Reina Sofía and Málaga Regional, 113 each; Virgen del Rocío in Sevilla, 111 organs; Virgen de las Nieves, Granada, 49; and Puerta del Mar in Cádiz, 40.
The other side of the coin, according to Andalucía’s Transplant Coordinator Manuel Alonso, is that 16% of people refused to donate organs during this same period, and the average age for donors is 56. The reason behind the increase in age average is that donations from accident victims has gone down, as have the accident figures in the country, while there is a noticeable increase in donors who die from brain and heart failures, which tends to happen among the older patients.
Patients on transplant waiting lists in Andalucía amounted to 855 at July 31st, which, says the coordinator, shows the need to further increase the availability of organs, about which Alonso alluded to ‘crossed transplants’ as a possible solution. He estimates that by the end of 2009 only one or two crossed transplants could be carried out in Spain, though this practice is “still very much in the minority.”
At a press conference where the above figures were presented, Manuel Alonso also mentioned the face transplant given the go-ahead last June for the Virgen del Rocío Hospital in Seville, for which “preparations are well under way” and the operation will take place “as soon as possible, hopefully before the end of the year.”
(Coming soon on Living and Dying in Jimena: How to become an organ donor.)