Coronavirus pandemic cut organ transplants in half in US, new analysis shows

The number of transplant procedures using organs from dead donors in the U.S. dropped by about 50 percent in early April compared to a month earlier, according to a study published in The Lancet.

For the study, researchers examined the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on organ donation and transplantation in the U.S. and France, using national data from three federal agencies, including the United Network for Organ Sharing.

They found that in the U.S., the number of recovered organs from dead donors decreased from more than 110 a day on March 6 to less than 60 per day on April 5. During the same period, the number of transplanted kidneys dropped from nearly 65 a day to about 35 per day. This resulted in an overall reduction of 51.1 percent in dead donor organ transplants in the U.S.

In France, dead donor organ transplantations dropped by 90.6 percent.

In both countries, the decline in overall organ transplantations was led by the drop in kidney transplants. There was also a significant drop in the number of heart, lung and liver transplants

"Our findings point to the far-reaching and severe ripple effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on healthcare, including lifesaving organ transplants," said Peter Reese, MD, associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at Philadelphia-based Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and a study co-author.




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