Tamil Nadu

Organ transplants come to a halt across the State

Experts feel determining COVID-19 status of donors not easy

Many hospitals across the State have suspended organ transplants in the wake of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

On a discussion forum of Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu (TRANSTAN), a majority of transplant surgeons felt it was better to defer organ transplants for the time being as it would not be easy to determine the COVID-19 status of donors. The risk of transmission to recipients, other patients and staff would thus be minimised, a cross-section of them said.

Waiting list

Approximately, 8,000 persons are on the waiting list for various organs in Tamil Nadu. Officials said the World Health Organisation as well as American Society of Transplantation recommended COVID-19 screening for both recipients and donors.

“This is an unprecedented scenario, and we have to follow norms. There are areas of concern. A recipient on the waiting list is already immuno-compromised and whether we have to subject them to transplant is a question to be thought about,” an official said.

The number of healthcare personnel, who would be involved in retrieval and transplant of organs, was another area of concern.

Paul Ramesh, senior consultant Cardiothoracic and Heart-Lung Transplant Surgeon, Apollo Hospitals, said given the high infectivity and virulence of COVID-19, it was felt it would be prudent to avoid transplants in stable recipients. This was keeping in line with current guidelines.

“Patients who require lung transplants are at a very high risk if they contract the virus. We have recommended intense isolation at home for them. As the COVID status of a donor cannot be ascertained with 100% certainty within the time frame of a retrieval, a decision was made to stop transplants for all stable patients on the waiting list until we reach the tail of the epidemic. We will review the decision on March 31,” he said.

R. Surendran, director, Liver Transplant, MIOT Hospital, said it was important to keep ready the hospital services at a time of epidemic. “We need to save hospital resources. We need to ensure the safety of recipients. We have to be careful as recipients have to be put on immuno-suppressants, and this could have a serious impact if affected by COVID-19,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 9:02:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/organ-transplants-come-to-a-halt-across-the-state/article31157726.ece

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