EU looks at increasing supply of transplant organs

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Europe’s health chief proposed ways Monday to improve availability of transplant organs across frontiers and reduce the number of people who can die while awaiting an operation.

Organ shortage is a common problem in all European Union countries, with some 56,000 patients waiting for a suitable organ donor across the EU’s 27 member countries and 12 people dying every day while waiting for organ transplantation.

Now, the European Commission wants to see every EU country set up a national authority to ensure compliance with EU quality and safety standards — including a traceability system for human organs and checks on serious adverse events and reactions.

Data collection on specific organ characteristics would be standardized to ease exchange of human organs, under proposals presented by EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou. They will now be discussed by EU ministers.

“These measures are all about saving lives,” Vassiliou said.

“We want to reassure citizens and patients across Europe that the EU and member states are working together to maximize efforts to provide high quality and safe transplantation systems,” she said in a statement.

Under an accompanying but non-binding six-year plan to run from 2009, EU countries would be encouraged to create transplant donor coordinators in every hospital and take steps to improve donor identification to increase cross-border organ donation.

Vassiliou aims to improve the quality and safety of organs across Europe, while raising organ availability and minimizing risks for the recipients as well as providing the transplant surgeon with the necessary information to make the best choice.

For many patients, transplantation is the only life-saving treatment available. But there are wide variations across the EU in yearly donation rates, ranging from 34.6 donations per million people in Spain to 0.5 per million in Romania.

There are also big differences in people’s willingness to donate organs. According to a 2007 poll carried out at the request of the Commission, for example, 40 percent of families in Britain said they would refuse to donate an organ from a deceased family member. The EU average was about 50 percent.

(Reporting by Jeremy Smith)


Related Posts:

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - An organ allocation policy that puts the sickest patients first in line to receive available donor livers for transplantation has created some unintended consequences for those patients low on the organ wait list, research suggests. Since the new donor organ allocation system was implemented in early 2002, there has been a

Full Post: Policy has changed how organs are allocated

By Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Men and women who get heart transplants are more likely to die when the donor was of the opposite sex, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday. The cause is not clear but could be due to size differences in the heart — men’s tend to be larger — or certain hormonal and

Full Post: Risks seen in opposite-sex heart transplants

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Advanced donor age, per se, does not adversely affect the transplant recipient or the survival of the organ after liver transplantation, according to a report in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons. Previous reports have indicated that the age of the donor — older than 60 years - contributes

Full Post: Liver transplants from elderly donors are safe

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Foreigners who donate their organs in Singapore may be compensated under planned changes to the country’s organ transplant law, a newspaper reported on Saturday. Organ trading is illegal in Singapore and anyone found guilty may be fined up to S$10,000 ($6,579), or jailed for up to a year. However, proposed changes to the law

Full Post: Foreigners benefit if Singapore changes organ law-paper

By Will Boggs, MD NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People hoping for a liver transplant and who are obese face prolonged waiting times, reflecting a possible “reluctance to transplant obese patients,” according to a new report. “In transplantation, outcomes are available online to the general public, and compared from hospital to hospital,” Dr. Dorry L. Segev explained

Full Post: Obese patients wait longer for liver transplant

Site Navigation

Most Read