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‘Organ transplant system more organised in U.S.’

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Douglas W. Hanto
Douglas W. Hanto

Staff Reporter

Bangalore: “The organ transplant system in the U.S. is relatively mature. The system has developed over the past 25 years. Things are very different here in India,” said Douglas W. Hanto, Chief, Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre.

Dr. Hanto was in the city to discuss and offer expert advice to Wockhardt Group of Hospitals on expanding their transplant programmes.

Speaking to presspersons here on Friday, Dr. Hanto said that in the U.S. organs from deceased donors were most used for transplants. “A very small percentage of organ transplants are actually from live, unrelated donors. In the U.S., there are 59 human organisations that maintain a registry of donors. Also, the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) maintains a registry of donors across the country. UNOS and the American Organ Procurement Organisation work and get the consent from families and coordinate the retrieval of organs with the respective hospitals.”

He also said that the system, though not entirely perfect, continues to change. The Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients supported the ongoing evaluation of the scientific and clinical status of solid organ transplantation in the U.S.

Dr. Hanto said that in 2006, in the U.S., as many as 28,931 transplants were performed – 22,201 from deceased donors and 6,730 from live donors. In 2006, there were 10,659 kidney transplants from deceased donors and 6,432 from living donors (of the living donors 1,438 were from unrelated donors). There were 6,362 liver transplants from deceased donors and 288 from live donors. There were 463 pancreas transplants, 923 kidney/pancreas transplants, 2,191 heart transplants.

Vishal Bali, Chief Executive Officer, Wockhardt Hospitals, said that the biggest challenges were affordability, social acceptance to organ donation, dispelling the myths surrounding the same and setting a national agenda for organ donation.

“We need a structure or a system in place. Illegal organ donation exists only because of the lack of a proper system. Fortunately, even the Centre has been concerned and is taking steps to have a system in place,” he said.

He said that just as several organisations came together and made eye donation socially acceptable, the same could be done for donation of other organs, even critical organs.

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