When the end of a life comes there is no more altruistic gesture than deciding to give up a kidney, a liver or even a heart, to a person whose organs have begun to fail. The Canary Islands, in recent years, and especially in the last five years, have consolidated their work of collecting and transplanting organs. Today it is reflected in the achievement of a new record never recorded. This year 2019, 120 canaries – 109 dead and 11 alive – have chosen to voluntarily cede part of the organs that have given a full life to 183 patients who, for one reason or another, have not had that luck. In just one year, 9% more canaries have decided to make such donations.
This new increase consolidates six years of continuous growth of organ donations, both in the Canary Islands and at the national level, but for the Atlantic islands, the growth rate has been much higher. Specifically, according to data from the National Transplant Organization (ONT), donation in Spain has grown by nearly 40% in just six years. For the Canary Islands, this increase has been much more pronounced, having reached 73%. In reference to this last decade, the Canary Health Service (SCS) has managed to increase the number of donors accumulated by 8.8% in relation to the first years of the 21st century. According to these data, the year 1989 is far away – in which this service began to run – in which only 20 canaries were willing to cede the organs that would no longer serve them. It also distances itself from the average values achieved in the decade between 1990 and 1999, when this incipient service in the Archipelago obtained an average of 49.3 donors a year.
Of the 183 transplants performed by the professionals of the four reference hospitals in the Canary Islands, 153 were kidney, 28 liver, one pancreas and one heart.
In this sense, the majority of transplants are renal because they are the first interventions of this type that began to be performed in the Archipelago. For this type of intervention, the reference centers are the University Hospital of the Canary Islands (HUC) and the Insular-Maternal and Children’s University Hospital of the Canary Islands, which performed 79 and 74 transplants, respectively. They are followed by liver patients, whose reference hospital is that of Nuestra Señora de La Candelaria, whose professionals managed to save the lives of 28 patients.
Finally, one of the pancreas was performed at the HUC and another cardiac at the University Hospital of Gran Canaria Dr. Negrín. It should be noted that it is the first time that a heart transplant is performed in the Canary Islands. Until now, patients had to move to the Peninsula, after waiting, for months, for a compatible organ. After starting its heart transplant program in December at the Dr. Negrín Hospital, this center has become the reference center for this modality in the Canary Islands.
This increase has also affected the types of transplants that have increased in all its forms. They highlight the interventions in which the donor was alive, which are basically performed in kidney transplants. In this sense, it is the HUC who is responsible for this type of surgery that this year has increased 89%. Another of the transplants of fashion they are those of asystole, which at national level is consolidating itself as the clearest way of expanding the number of donors, since there are fewer and fewer deaths due to brain death (caused, for example, by a traffic accident). And it was just those who nurtured donor banks until recently.
This type of donation, which is made to patients who have lost circulatory (and respiratory) function, has increased in the Canary Islands by 61%. This means that it already accounts for 26.6% of the transplants performed in the Archipelago. Across Spain, one in three donors are in asystole. The Canary Islands have fulfilled one of the strategic lines of the 50×22 plan sponsored by laONT.
This roadmap seeks that by 2022 all of Spain reach 50 donors per million population (pmp) and reach 5,500 transplants. In this sense, the Archipelago has been one of the 14 communities that has exceeded the imposed donor rate, having stood at 50.7, above the national average (48.9). As for the number of donors, it has also increased to reach 2,301 throughout Spain.