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Stats & FAQ's

Organ Transplantation Fact Sheet

Current Statistics and Time Waiting for Organ Transplant

Survival Statistics

Registration by Health Authority

Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding Brain Death - Commonly Asked Questions

 

Organ Transplantation Fact Sheet

  • There is a chronic shortage of hearts, lungs, kidneys and livers for transplant in BC as the need far outweighs the number of organs available for transplant. There are more than 300 British Columbians currently awaiting organ transplants and hundreds more awaiting corneal transplants.

  • Some organs that could be available for transplant are lost because the decision of the loved one is not known by their family.

  • Many of those waiting for a solid organ transplant die while waiting for a suitable transplant.

  • Survival rates of transplant patients continue to improve, providing recipients with an extended and high quality of life.

  • Transplants are cost-effective. For those with kidney disease, the average cost of dialysis treatment is $50,000 a year. By comparison, the one-time cost of a kidney transplant in BC is approximately $20,000, with an additional yearly cost of about $6,000 for anti-rejection medications.

  • Since 1968, when the first kidney transplant was performed in BC, more than 4,700 transplants have been performed in BC.

  • 1999 was the first year where more living donor kidney transplants were performed than deceased donor kidney transplants. 

 

Current Statistics as of August 12, 2014
Number of people registered on BC's Organ Donor Registry: 909,727

Program
Transplanted
Waiting
Kidney - Cadaveric
71
352
Kidney - Living Donor
61
Pancreas - Kidney
3
9
Pancreas after Kidney
1
12
Pancreas Islet
2
15
Liver - Cadaveric
45
35
Liver - Living Donor
2
Heart
14
12
Single Lung
3
15
Double Lung
13
20
Heart-Lung
Liver-Kidney
2
Liver-Bowel
Bowel
Heart-Kidney
2
Double Lung - Kidney
Heart - Lung - Kidney
Cluster
Bowel-Kidney
Programme
Total
215
473

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Time Waiting for Organ Transplant

The median waiting time is calculated according to the length of time
people who were transplanted in a calendar year waited for a transplant.
It is consistent with National Standards.

Median Waiting Time (in Months)
for First Adult Deceased Donor Transplants

Program
Year of Transplant
Median Waiting Time
(Months)
Kidney (Adult Deceased Donor)

2005
2006
2007
2008
2010
2011
2012

68.9
80.9
73.7
68.4
63.1
62.2
43.65

Kidney (Pediatric Deceased Donor)

2005
2006
2007
2008
2010
2011
2012

4.8
14.0
17.8
17.7
52.3
21.7
13.89

Pancreas-Kidney
2005
2006
2007
2008
2010
2011
2012
32.0
30.0
31.9
23.3
22.8
44.3
84.67
Pancreas after Kidney
2005
2006
2007
2008
2010
2011
2012
32.5
38.8
34.0
38.8
43.8
35.2
43.37
Liver
2005
2006
2007
2008
2010
2011
2012
2.9
3.8
3.5
1.6
2.7
1.8
1.50
Heart
2005
2006
2007
2008
2010
2011
2012
5.1
2.0
3.3
0.9
3.73
0.9
4.21
Single Lung
2005
2006
2007
2008
2010
2011
2012
18.0
11.5
4.9
9.1
8.0
10.8
3.54
Double Lung
2005
2006
2007
2008
2010
2011
6.7
5.6
4.3
9.0
8.0
10.8


Median Waiting Time (in Months)
for First Adult Deceased Donor Kidney Transplants by Blood Type*
Year
Type A
Type B
Type AB
Type O
2012
24.19
99.47
35.86
66.22
2011
31.8
73.9
22.9
71.1
2010
40.7
67.3
44.1
77.6
2009
27.5
92.6
59.0
78.9
2008
48.9
0.0
38.8
82.7
2007
58.3
88.6
31.4
81.8
2006
56.6
86.0
2.1
85.4
2005
54.9
67.9
44.6
80.2
2004
47.6
64.4
39.8
69.9
2003
51.7
61.5
30.8
68.2
2002
52.2
77.7
26.2
66.9
2001
50.6
50.1
23.2
54.6
2000
39.9
40.7
11.0
37.3
1999
34.8
39.1
3.5
43.5


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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I currently have an organ donor decal on my CareCard. Do I still need to register and fill out the Organ Donor Registry form?

A: YES. The Organ Donor Registry replaced all previous ways of indicating your decision about organ donation. If you wish to be an organ donor, you can register online, or request registration forms by contacting BC Transplant at: BCTS_Webmaster@bcts.hnet.bc.ca , 604-877-2240 or toll free at 1-800-663-6189.


Q: How do I check to see if I am already registered?

You can verify your registration by visiting www.transplant.bc.ca or by calling BC Transplant 1-800-663-6189. You will need your Personal Health Number (BC CareCard).


Q: How does anyone know if I am registered on the Organ Donor Registry?

A: Once a person completes their organ donor registration form it is entered into a secure, computerized database-the Organ Donor Registry (ODR). At the time of death, BC Transplant would access the ODR using the individual's Personal Health Number (BC CareCard). If the individual is registered, a copy of their registration form is printed, verified, and then shown to their family. The individual's decision would then be followed through.



Q:
Is there an age limit to register for organ donation?

A: No, there is no age limit to register. The health of the organs rather than the age of the individual will determine whether the organs can be transplanted.  


Q: If I am a registered organ donor, will health care providers make every effort to save my life?

A:
Yes. First and foremost the duty of health care providers is to save lives. In addition, BC's Human Tissue Gift Act states that the death of a potential organ donor must be declared by two doctors, independent of BC Transplant. The Organ Donor Registry is only accessed at the time of a death.



Q:
If I die of a heart attack can I be an organ donor?

A: No, a person needs to be in a hospital and on a ventilator at the time of death to be considered for organ donation.



Q:
Are there any costs involved to the family in organ donation?

A: No, all costs of organ donation are covered by BC Transplant. 


Q: Can I register my children on the Organ Donor Registry?

A: Yes, you can register your children online, or you can request a registration form. You will need to sign the Registration on their behalf, if under the age of 19.


Q: Can I donate my organs if I have a medical condition?

A: Yes, everyone should register their decision regardless of any medical conditions. A medical team does a thorough examination of every potential donor to determine what organs can be used for transplant.  


Q: When I sign up on the Organ Donor Registry, does that include donating Bone Marrow?

A: No. If you would like to donate bone marrow, you must contact Canadian Blood Services at www.blood.ca or (604) 737-1811 or toll free at 1-888-737-1811. 


Q: I can't donate blood in Canada, can I still be an organ donor?

A: Yes. A medical team does a thorough examination of every potential donor to determine what organs can be used for transplant. Every British Columbian can register on the Organ Donor Registry. Please contact BC Transplant if you have any questions.


Q: What organs/tissues can be donated?

A: The heart, liver, lungs, pancreas, kidneys, heart valves, cornea, tissues, bones, skin, tendons and ligaments can be donated. Click here to learn more about how these organs and tissues are used for transplant.


Q: Are donor families informed of which organs and tissues were transplanted, and to whom they were given?

A: BC Transplant sends a letter to the donor's family stating which solid organs were transplanted. Often recipients will write letters of thanks to the donor families. Names are kept confidential and are not given to the donor or recipient families.


Q: If I consent to transplant research, what does that mean?

A: Consenting to transplant research allows blood and tissue samples to be taken at the time of organ recovery, to be used for transplant specific research.

Transplant research should not be confused with donating your body to science, for anatomy or medical studies. In order to donate your body to anatomy or medical studies you must make separate arrangements through the Anatomy Department at the University of British Columbia at 604-822-2578.


Q: What is living organ donation?

A: An individual can potentially donate one of their kidneys, or portion of liver, to someone they know, such as a family member, spouse, friend, or co-worker. In the case of kidney donation, someone could even donate to someone they don't know through BC's Living Anonymous Donor program. Living donors can lead healthy lives.  Click here for more information on living organ donation.


Q: If a donor is outside the Lower Mainland, where are the organs recovered?

A: A surgical team will fly to the hospital where the donor is located. The organs are recovered and brought back to Vancouver where the waiting recipient is transplanted.


Q: How long does the organ donation process take?

A: Once consent is given, it can take from 24 to 48 hours before the organ recovery surgery starts.


Q: Does BC Transplant pay for funeral arrangements?

A: No. The family is responsible for all funeral arrangements. 


Q: Can a donor still have an open casket funeral?

A: Yes. Organs are always carefully removed and incisions closed by a surgical team. The body is at all times treated with the utmost respect.


Q: Are there religious objections to organ donations?

A: Most religions support organ/tissue donation as a humanitarian act. You are encouraged to discuss this with the religious leader(s) in your community or visit www.organtransplants.org/understanding/religion.


Q: How many people are on the transplant wait-list in British Columbia?

A: Currently, there are over 400 British Columbians waiting for a solid organ transplant. Thousands more are currently on kidney dialysis and most will one day be on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.


Q: Why are there so few donors in BC?

A: On average, there are 25,000 deaths in BC each year. Less than 1% of those will die in a way that leads to organ donation. Of those 1%, the majority will be deemed unsuitable for transplant, creating a shortage of organs for transplant. In 2013, there were 67 deceased organ donors in BC.


For further information, please contact BC Transplant at BCTS_Webmaster@bcts.hnet.bc.ca
(604) 877-2240
or toll free at 1-800-663-6189