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Organ transplants up in Catalonia for fifth year in a row

Some 1,149 operations carried out in Catalan hospitals in 2018, although number of donors fell slightly by 1.9%


15 January 2019 12:39 PM


ACN | Barcelona

Hospitals in Catalonia carried out a total of 1,149 organ transplants in 2018, some 3.9% more than in 2017, and the fifth year in a row that the number of operations has gone up.

Working out as 151 operations for every million inhabitants, there were more transplants of livers (13.8%), hearts (18.3%), lungs (16.9%) and the pancreas (23.5%).

However, the number of donors fell slightly by 1.9% compared to 2017, which was a record year, with 456 organs donated in 2018.

According to the figures from the Catalan Transplant Organization (OCATT), waiting times for a transplant is between 60 and 70 days, except for kidney transplants, which is 20 months. On December 31 2018, there were 1,221 people on a waiting list.

As for the hospitals that carried out the most transplants in 2018, the Vall d'Hebron hospital did 319, followed by the Bellvitge and Clínic hospitals, with 254 and 250 respectively.

Record of pediatric organ transplants

As for organ transplants on children, the Vall d'Hebron and Sant Joan de Déu children's hospitals carried out 53 pediatric organ transplants between them (42 and 11 respectively).

Of these, some 25 were kidney transplants, with 15 liver, 8 heart, and 5 lung transplants, a record figure for Catalonia.

Refusals due to change of protocol

Yet, the number of families refusing to donate the organs of a dying relative have also risen, to 18.7%, which means 2 out of every 10 families refused to donate organs.

The transplant coordinator of the Vall d'Hebron hospital, Teresa Pont, put the decline in numbers down to a new protocol that has only been in place for a few years.

Pont says that family members are now asked if they want to donate a relative's organs before they die, when before they were asked after the death had occurred.

This situation, claims Pont, causes some family members to feel nervous about the decision, and the coordinator called on people wishing to donate their organs to say so beforehand.


  • Image of a kidney transplant in Bellviatge Hospital with robotic surgery in November 2018 (by Bellvitge Hospital)

  • Image of a kidney transplant in Bellviatge Hospital with robotic surgery in November 2018 (by Bellvitge Hospital)