Variation in kidney transplant donation rates revealed

The rate of kidney transplant donation varies hugely across Europe, despite growing demand for donors, a conference has heard.

The Europe-wide survey shows significant country-to-country differences – up to a five-fold variation in the number of kidney donors, going from 3% to 17% of the population.

The findings, which are to be presented by Dr Víctor Díez Nicolás, of the European Society for Transplantation in Urology (ESTU) at the European Association of Urology congress in Munich, Germany, looked at the rates across Europe for 2014, comparing data from a range of registers.

The research team found that deceased donors per million of the population range from 35.7 in Spain to 3.3 in the Russian Federation.

Dr Díez Nicolás said: “The circumstances in country are very different, but basically it depends on two factors, social sensitivity, and legislation.

“In Spain for example, each citizen is a potential donor unless they opt-out of the transplant scheme, whereas in Germany there is an ‘opt-in’ scheme. Some countries also allow donation from living donors, or from persons whose hearts have stopped.

“As the technology becomes more mainstream, and rates of kidney failure are increasing, the demand for organs has increased quite significantly, and there is a general need to obtain more organs.

“At the moment, whether you can find a donor organ largely depends on where you live. If countries want to increase transplant rates, and so increase survival from kidney failure, they might consider changing the way they source donor organs.”

The European Association of Urology Congress, Munich, takes place between 11 and 15 March, 2016.

Abstract 713: Kidney transplant activity in Europe during 2014: Differences among countries. Díez Nicolás V, Gómez Dos Santos V et al.

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