French organ donations to rise slightly in 2022, but still below pre-health crisis

Organ removal and transplantation activity in France will increase by 4% in 2022, with 5,494 transplants performed, according to figures published by the Agency for Biomedicine (ABM) on Tuesday, February 7th. However, these numbers have not returned to the levels seen before the health crisis in 2018 and 2019. Growth is also still lower than in 2021 (+19.3%). Transplants have paid a heavy price for the pandemic, costing more than 48,000 years of life globally, according to a study in 22 countries published in August 2021 The Lancet Public Health.

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However, this number is limited by ABM “Encouraging, given the difficulties some health agencies are going through”. Faced with a triple epidemic of Covid-19, bronchiolitis and influenza at the end of 2022, the hospital system is also under the discontent of nursing staff, with many tensions affecting organ removal activities.

“However, the agency remains cautious that all efforts by health professionals, patient associations, hospital administrations, health authorities and the academic community will fail to achieve the goals set by the transplant program in relation to patient expectations if the situation in hospitals does not improve”Professor François Kerbaul, Director of Organ and Tissue Procurement and Transplantation at ABM, warns.

“Speak before you die”

The fourth transplant plan (2022-2026) is described as ambitious by all players. “We are mobilizing health agencies to increase liver and kidney transplants and resections, especially living donation”, adds François Kerbaul. It is well known that the shorter the time interval between two interventions, the better the effect. Likewise, transplantation remains the best treatment for patients with renal insufficiency, and even when there are alternative treatments, such as dialysis, there is no equivalent.

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In addition, the number of deceased donors whose tissue (cornea, artery, skin, bone, etc.) was removed also increased by 5.5% to 6,226 individuals. On the other hand, the disapproval rate remains high at 33% in 2022 compared to 30% in 2019, with wide regional variations. According to a barometer conducted annually by ABM (a survey of 1,012 people conducted by the Viavoice Institute in January), only 54% of the French are concerned about organ donation despite campaigns. “The key word to combat opposition to donations is between relatives, talk about it before you die”, says François Kerbaul. The law states that we are all presumed organ and tissue donors unless we refuse during our lifetime, either by registering on the National Denial Register or by notifying relatives. François Kerbaul recalls that 10,810 patients were on the active waiting list, ie they were immediately eligible for a transplant.

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