World Kidney Day, earlier this week, 10th March, was raising awareness of the facts that kidney transplants dropped by a third during the pandemic, and its more important than ever for people of Dorset to share their organ donation decision and even consider a living kidney donation.
NHS Blood and Transport, the joint England and Wales Special Health Authority, says although kidney transplant activity is recovering, thousands of patients are waiting and could wait even longer.
There are more than 4,600 people waiting for a kidney transplant, including 37 patients in the Dorset area. Sadly this figure is expected to rise and as a reminder of World Kidney Day, the NHS Blood and Transplant is asking people to talk about their wishes about organ donation and considering a living kidney donation.
Kidney transplants have been the hardest hit area of organ transplantation throughout the pandemic, with donors down by 22% and living donors down by 60% - an overall drop of 32% in 2020/21, compared to 2019/20. Sadly, this means thousands are waiting for a kidney transplant and for longer as the waiting list has increased.
Living donor transplantation opens up opportunities for patients waiting for a transplant by minimising the time people need to rely on dialysis and by offering patients who wait the longest, i.e. those who are most difficult to match, are particular "sensitised" (which means they have a higher level of antibodies which could cause the body to reject a transplanted organ) or are from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic background, the chance of a successful transplant.
Living donation is not for everyone and some people are not suitable donors, so the majority of kidney patients will still be saved by a deceased organ donor. It is important to let you family know of your wishes. The law around organ donation has now changed to an opt out system, across the country, many people are still not aware that families will still be consulted before organ donation goes ahead.
Sadly every day across the UK will die waiting for an organ transplant and one donor can save or transform up to 9 lives through organ donation and even more by donating tissue.