Organ / Tissue Donation and Transplantation

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Canada now has a real-time, online organ waitlist registry for patients in the last stages 
of organ failure who are waiting for transplants, making it easier to match and allocate available organs with patients in need.

Launched in June 2012, the National Organ Waitlist (NOW) provides web-based access for non-renal (not resulting from kidney dysfunction) organ transplant programs across the country, providing information about patients in need of a heart, lungs, liver, pancreas or bowel. When organs become available, transplant programs and organ procurement organizations can access NOW online to identify patients in most critical need of an organ anywhere in Canada. Currently, about 900 patients are on the registry.

The NOW registry is part of the larger Canadian Transplant Registry, which is the web-based platform through which NOW and other national organ registries operate. The NOW replaces a fax-based list out of London Health Sciences Centre, where updates were made weekly and patient data and status were often outdated. The new registry better addresses accuracy, security, privacy and trace-ability issues.

“The Canadian Transplant Registry, which will be the primary mechanism for inter-provincial sharing of all organs, is where the system is of particular benefit,” says Kimberly Young, Executive Director of organ donation and transplantation at Canadian Blood Services “It represents a long-overdue advancement in technology, and collaboration for the donation and transplantation community in Canada.

“Transplant programs will be able to immediately see the status of patients and where those patients are located. Having a real-time, 24/7, web-based system to facilitate matching and allocation of organs is the fulfillment of a dream more than 30 years in the making. Canadian Blood Services is honoured to be part of the solution to help develop the tools and support the community members who provide this life-saving service to patients.”

The NOW registry is part of Canadian Blood Services’ new mandate in organ and tissue donation and transplantation. In June 2012, Canadian Blood Services released Call to Action, a blueprint for an integrated national system for organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

Canadian Blood Services has also created the national Living Donor Paired Exchanged Program (LDPE), a live kidney donation and transplant registry that matches incompatible donor/recipient pairs with other incompatible donor/recipient pairs that allows two recipients to receive kidneys from each other’s living donor. For example, a husband may be willing to donate a kidney for his wife who is in need, but may not be a match. Instead, he may provide a kidney for another patient who also has someone who is willing to donate a kidney but lacks a match. As of Nov. 9, 2012, 151 live kidney transplants had been done under the LDPE program. In 2013, Canadian Blood Services will also launch the Highly Sensitized Patient Registry to provide increased transplant opportunities for difficult-to-match, sensitized kidney patients.

For more information on Canadian Blood Services’ organ and tissue donation and  transplantation programs, please visit organsandtissues.ca.

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