Darias highlights Spain's leadership in organ donation and transplants, with a rate that is double that of Europe

News - 16.5.2022

"Because that's what it's all about, giving life. Behind every transplant, there is a story. Stories of life, which is down to the tireless efforts of our professionals, coordinated by the National Transplant Organisation (ONT) in the autonomous communities," said the minister, who recalled that in Spain eight out of ten families say yes to donation thanks to the work of the transplant coordinators.

The minister stressed that in Spain "scientific evidence has been followed and protocols have been adapted so that COVID is not an impediment to continuing the chain of life that is donation and transplantation". These protocols have allowed 53 recipients of organ transplants from PCR-positive donors to be registered in the first months of the year 2022.

These words were said at the opening ceremony of the 36th National Congress of Transplant Coordinators, which is being held at the Euskalduna Palace in Bilbao until Wednesday 18 May and in which 250 professionals are taking part. At the inauguration, the minister was joined by Gotzone Sagardui, Minister for Health of the Basque Government; Denis Itxaso González, Government Delegate in the Basque Country; Beatriz Domínguez, Director of the National Transplant Organisation (ONT) and José Ignacio Aranzabal, Autonomous Transplant Coordinator of the Basque Country.

Increased activity

In 2021, 4,781 transplants were performed in Spain, an increase of 8% compared to transplant activity in 2020. "Many countries are interested in the functioning of the Spanish Transplant Model, which has once again demonstrated its vigour despite the adversities," the Minister for Health remarked.

Carolina Darias also had words of recognition for the transplant coordinator in the Basque Country, because "in 1989, when the National Transplant Organisation was founded, Dr. Aranzabal was already in charge of transplants in the Basque Country and was an inspiration for the whole of Spain. Thank you for your seniority and for your daily work for life".

"After COVID halted the continuous rise recorded in donation and transplants in Spain, 2021 was the year of the reconstruction of the National Programme, and 2022 we continue on the path of recovery from before the pandemic, with donation activity in Spain increasing by 10% compared to the previous year," said the Minister for Health.

Donation figures

In the first four months of 2022, 807 people have donated organs: 707 have done so after death and 100 have donated a kidney or part of their liver to a loved one during their lifetime. These donations have enabled 1,739 transplants to be carried out, a figure that is close to the 2019 figures.

In Spain there are 185 transplant coordination teams in hospitals, with 542 professionals, of which 346 are medical professionals and 196 are nurses.

In 2021, 4,781 transplants were performed in Spain, an increase of 8% compared to transplant activity in 2020. Our country, with 40.2 donors per million population, is twice the donation rate of the European Union (18.4).

In addition, in these four months, 26 asystole heart transplants have been performed, with 4 infant transplants in 10 centres throughout the country. In fact, progress in this area has meant that overall donations in asystole have increased by 32% over the previous year in this period.

Non official translation