Thursday, January 28, 2010

Danish Organ donations reach record high

Transplants between family members boost donation figures but high demand for kidney transplants remains

The Copenhagen Post

Patient and doctor groups have welcomed the news that organ donations reached a record high last year, with 327 people receiving transplants.

New figures for organ transplants in Nordic countries show that Danish donations are steadily increasing, up from 276 in 2007 and 278 in 2008.

Denmark still lags behind other Nordic countries but the increasing number of donors has been welcomed by the Danish Transplantation Group. Chairman Jan Rishave said he hoped it would continue in the future.

The Danish Centre for Organ Donation coordinates transplant efforts nationwide and almost 700 doctors and nurses undertook training courses at the centre last year.

Centre manager Helle Haubro Andersen told Kristeligt Dagbladet newspaper that the efforts by hospitals were helping to increase awareness of the issue.

‘I think many are gradually of the opinion that when we can’t save the person lying in the bed, there are five others we could save,’ Andersen said.

Kidneys are by far the most required of all organs. Of the 577 Danish patients on the transplant waiting list at the end of October last year, 480 were in need of a kidney.

And kidney transplants have also increase dramatically in recent years, largely due to the number of live donations between family members. The average number of kidney transplants remained between 160 and 190 annually for many years, until it spiked at 231 last year.

Public awareness campaigns have also been effective in recent years with the number of people signing up to the national donor register almost reaching 607,000. The register keeps track of people who want to donate organs, those who want their family to take the decision and those who do not want to donate. About 85 percent of those currently on the register have said yes to organ donation.

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