British Columbia saw a 25 per cent increase in deceased organ donors in 2017, resulting in a record-breaking 479 lives saved.
The increase in donors contributed to a 13 per cent increase in total transplants to 479, and a 30 per cent increase in both deceased donor kidney transplants at 225 and 52 lung transplants in 2017.
There was also an eight per cent increase in liver transplants, resulting in a record number of 80.
In addition to deceased donation, 97 living kidney donor transplants were performed in 2017.
Interior Health saw an increase in the number of deceased donors to 32 in 2017 from 17 in 2016.
Seventy-five transplants were performed with the Health Authority region last year compared with 68 in 2916.
“More lives are being saved thanks to life-saving transplants than ever before,” says Dr. David Landsberg, BC Transplant’s Provincial Medical Director, Transplant Services. “This is a result of system changes we’ve made over the past few years that are now having an impact, but also a shift in our culture to one that fully supports organ donation as a normal end-of-life option.”
“We’ve had a dramatic increase in lung transplants in British Columbia,” says Dr. John Yee, Medical Director of the BC Lung Transplant Program, who remembers a time when there was just one lung transplant in a year, compared to the 52 performed in 2017.
“There are many factors that have affected this increase; there is a greater availability of organs, there’s more awareness that lung transplants are a viable option for people with end-stage lung failure, and we’ve built a well-trained and experienced multi-disciplinary team that can manage the demand while achieving excellent health results for our patients.”
As of January 1, 638 people were still waiting for an organ transplant in BC.
British Columbians are encouraged to register their own decision about organ donation, and share their wishes with their family.
For more information, visit transplant.bc.ca.