Increase in Organ Donations Across Canada in 2021

The number of organ donations and transplants in Canada rebounded in 2021, according to a report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. The report revealed that there were 1,328 organ donors across Canada in 2021, a 9% increase compared to 2020.

Over the past decade, there has been a 23% increase in both organ donations and transplants performed. The number of transplants performed in 2021 was 2,750, a 6% increase compared to 2020, which was the lowest number of yearly transplants since 2015. There was also a 20% increase in the number of living donors in 2021 compared to 2020. Survival rates are higher among those who receive a kidney from a living donor, with an 88 percent survival rate at five years post-transplant, compared to those who receive a kidney from a deceased donor for a 77 percent survival rate after five years.

However, the number of transplants performed in 2019 was 9% higher than in 2021.

Long-term gaps in the system that predate the pandemic are still affecting patients, with some dying before a suitable organ becomes available. In 2021, 105 people died while waiting for a kidney transplant. The second most deadly wait time was in liver transplants, where 95 patients died.

Dr. Joseph Kim, Director of the Kidney Transplant Program at University Health Network shared that during the COVID-19 pandemic they gained valuable knowledge on how to safely transplant patients while also addressing the threat of the virus. They also learned how to efficiently use organs from potentially infected donors, and how to adapt the system to meet the challenges of a global health crisis.

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