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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

versión On-line ISSN 2078-5135
versión impresa ISSN 0256-9574


DU TOIT, T et al. A 10-year analysis of organ donor referrals to a South African tertiary public sector hospital. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2020, vol.110, n.2, pp.132-134. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND. South Africa (SA) has one of the lowest deceased organ donor rates in the world (1.4 donors per million population), with thousands of patients awaiting solid-organ transplantation. In order to improve access to transplantation we have to clearly define the reasons for the low deceased donation rate, specific to the population we serve.OBJECTIVES. Review of actual donor statistics highlights our successes, yet is not able to contextualise the factors responsible for the unsuccessful conversion of referred organ donors to actual organ donors. In an attempt to identify key factors preventing referred donors from becoming actual donors, we analysed the donor referral patterns at our institution over a 10-year period.METHODS. This was a retrospective descriptive study of consecutive deceased donor referrals at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, SA (from January 2007 to December 2016), utilising a regional donor referral registry. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected and presented as descriptive statistics and temporal trends.RESULTS. Over the 10-year study period, 861 possible organ donors were referred, with a steady increase in the number of referrals over time. Of the referrals, 514 (59.7%) were eligible for donation of at least one solid organ. Of the 508 families that were approached for consent to donation, 342 declined consent for a variety of reasons, resulting in a consent rate of 32.7%. Ultimately, at least one solid organ was obtained from 159 of the 166 consented donors. Despite the increasing number of possible and eligible donors, a statistically significant decline in consent rate was observed over time (ptrend=0.023). Furthermore, increasing trends in medical (as opposed to trauma) (ptend<0.001) and extended criteria (as opposed to standard criteria) donor referrals (ptTend<0.001) were observed over the 10-year study period.CONCLUSIONS. Donor referral patterns have changed over time, with a notable increase in medical and extended criteria donors. Despite the increase in possible and eligible donors, the consent rate has declined. Further qualitative and quantitative research studies are required to understand and address this trend.

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