The Daily Telegraph

Organ donations fell by 30pc in pandemic

- By Laura Donnelly HEALTH EDITOR

ORGAN donations fell by a third during the pandemic because of a surge in the number of people dying at home, research shows.

The UK study shows the number dropped by 30 per cent in the 12 months following the first lockdown, as the number of available donors fell. Experts said the trend was driven by a fall in the number of deaths in hospital, from conditions such as cardiac arrest and strokes.

Such scenarios are often suitable for donation. But the pandemic saw increasing numbers of such deaths occurring at home.

The study, published in the journal Anaesthesi­a, is based on national audit data from NHS Blood and Transplant – the agency that oversees donation in the UK.

Overall, the audit found that in the first year of the pandemic the total number of donations fell by 30 per cent from 1,620 to 1,140 when compared with pre-pandemic levels.

Lead author Dr Dan Harvey, of Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said Covid “impacted on organ donation and transplant­ation in the UK, as it has in many other countries”.

But he added: “The system showed a degree of resilience and ability to rapidly adapt to challenges to maintain services.”

There were also 4,282 eligible donors during the period, compared with 6,038 in the previous year.

However, even though absolute numbers were down, the proportion of eligible donors who proceeded to donation – 27 per cent – was unchanged.

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