Vancouver — A 25 per cent increase in deceased organ donors helped save a record-breaking 479 lives in 2017.
This significant growth is thanks to a concentrated effort on the part of health care teams in the province’s hospitals to identify potential donors and support families in choosing organ donation.
In 2017, BC’s deceased donor rate increased to 24.9 per million people, up from the 2016 rate of 20.3. This maintains BC as one of the leading provinces in Canada for deceased donation, in addition to being a leader for living kidney donation.
The increase in donors contributed to a 13 per cent increase in total transplants to 479, and a 30 per cent increase in both deceased donor kidney transplants (225) and lung transplants (52) in 2017. There was also an eight per cent increase in liver transplants, resulting in a record number of 80. In addition to deceased donation, 97 living kidney donor transplants were performed in 2017.
The province’s strategic and systems-focused approach to organ donation is saving more lives through the following:
- The establishment of hospital-based critical care teams of physicians and donation coordinators who support families and staff with organ donation—resulting in a 40 per cent increase in hospital referrals of potential donors to BC Transplant over the last two years.
- Expanding organ donation options at the hospital level, with the addition of two hospitals capable of offering donation after cardio-circulatory death.
- A supported shift to a culture in health care that supports organ donation as a normal end-of-life option.
- Increasing public awareness of the need and value of organ donation.
As of January 1, 2018, 638 people were still waiting for an organ transplant in BC, and the need remains strong. British Columbians are encouraged to register their own decision about organ donation, and share their wishes with their family. For more information, visit transplant.bc.ca.