Multiorgan Transplant Benefited 12 Patients
During 2020, organ transplants and donations decreased amid COVID-19 but official numbers show transplants increased during 2021. The first multiorgan transplant procedure of 2022 just took place in the General Hospital of Mexico (HGM).
“Transplants are an essential procedure within the health system. It is urgent to address the lag and answer the growing demand of those who hope for a new opportunity,” said Jose Aburto, Director, National Transplant Center (CENATRA).
SARS-CoV-2 poses higher risks of death for those who have been organ recipients, especially to those who are unvaccinated. During 2020, 26.5 percent of the recipients that got infected with COVID-19 died, according to the Ministry of Health (SSA). Mexico City is the state where most organ recipients died amid COVID-19, followed by Puebla and Jalisco. Potential donors who get infected by the virus have to stop donation process.
Consequently, between March 2020 and June 2020, donation and transplantation went down in Mexico. In light of this scenario, SSA implemented campaigns to promote organ donation to primary benefit those not affiliated to any social security institute.
Although organ transplant procedures in Latin America decreased at the beginning of the pandemic, in Mexico donation and transplant procedures are already increasing. According to the SSA, transplants doubled during 2021 compared to 2020, with an increase of 952 corneal transplants and 1,058 kidney transplants. While in 2020 there were only 72 liver transplants, in 2021 there were 135 transplants, reported CENATRA.
In addition, doctors from the HGM successfully performed two multiorgan transplant procedures that benefited 12 patients on the waiting list. Although more patients could have benefited, the donor had A+ blood type while 80 percent of the people waiting for an organ are O+. “The HGM was one of the first hospitals to resume donation and transplant procedures in Mexico. In Oct. 2020, a pediatric multiorgan procedure benefited four pediatric patients,” said Aczel Sánchez, Chief, HGM Transplantation Division
While there were more transplant procedures in 2021 compared to 2020, numbers are still far from those reported during 2019, when a total of 2,989 kidney transplants, 3,842 corneal transplants and 224 liver transplants were recorded, according to CENATRA. To address this health issue, Aburto suggests public and private health institutions collaborate to strengthen human, financial and material resources and the network of hospitals that offer donation and transplant services.
The population can also support those who are waiting for an organ. In life, people can donate organs and tissues such as part of a lung, a kidney, part of the pancreas, skin and bone after a surgery, among others, according to UNAM.