Strange Boat - Organ Donation Awareness


Organ Transplant Statistics 2008

There are currently over 600 people in Ireland awaiting life saving transplant operations.  The number of deceased donors in 2008 was 81, down by 7 on 2007.

In Ireland last year, there were 136 deceased donor kidney transplants, 58 liver, 4 heart and 4 lung transplants. 12 pancreas were transplanted simultaneously with a kidney transplant. Ten extra kidney transplants were conducted via living donors making an overall total of 146 kidney transplants in Ireland in 2008, the same amount as in 2006 and 2007.


In 2008, the Mater Hospital conducted 4 heart transplant operations (3 less than in 2007).

4 lung transplants took place at the Mater Hospital last year, the same amount as in 2007.

A further 6 lung transplants were conducted in the UK on behalf of Irish patients in 2008.

St. Vincent’s University Hospital conducted 58 liver transplants in 2008 and has maintained a very high level of transplantation in recent years (182 in the past 3 years).

These are the most recent statistics given by Mr. Mark Murphy, Chief Executive of the Irish Kidney Association at the launch of Organ Donor Awareness Week on Tuesday 24th March which is organised by the Irish Kidney Association and supported by the Irish Donor Network.  Mr. Murphy went on to speak about the new Organ Donation legislation being initiated by the Government and also reiterated his call for the appointment of more fully trained donor coordinators which would increase donors.

“2009 will see a record number of kidney transplants.” This was the prediction by Mr.  Murphy who went on to caution "that there is a need for many more deceased organ donors before levels of heart, lung and liver transplantation can increase." Mr. Murphy asserted that “trained donor coordinators, a Transplant Authority and the utilisation of another source of organ donors, Cardiac Death Donors, would increase the level of organ donation and transplantation in Ireland”.

Mr. Murphy’s prediction for a record number of kidney transplants in 2009 is based on the sustaining or increasing the current levels of deceased donors  together with the successful new Living Transplant Programme at Beaumont Hospital, where there were 10 living transplants in 2008, and projections for 2009 are that up to 30 living kidney transplants will take place.  

"Thanks to the generosity of 81 deceased donors and their families consent for donation, 210 organs were transplanted in Ireland in 2008. In 2007 there were 88 deceased donors which was 3 less than in 2006.

"There are currently over 600 people in Ireland awaiting life saving transplant operations. Almost 2400 people in Ireland are enjoying extended life as a result of receiving organ transplants," Mr. Murphy said.

Reiterating his call for the appointment of fully trained Donor Coordinators which would increase donors, Mr. Murphy stressed that their role was even more important if ‘Cardiac Death Donors’ were to be considered as an extra source of organ donors. ‘Cardiac Death Donors’ are currently not considered in Ireland whereas in the Netherlands this source represents 41% of donors and in the UK 23% of its donors are from this extra source.

At the launch Mr. Murphy also said that he anticipates that the recent HSE audit on Brain Stem Deaths in Intensive Care Units will clarify the potential level of future organ donation in Ireland. March 14th 2009 was the extended deadline for  submissions by interested parties for the Department of Health & Children’s Public Consultation Process on ‘Consent for the Donation of Organs  After Death for Transplantation’ . Mr. Murphy said that ,“the Irish Kidney Association favours the current system of ‘Informed Consent’ enhanced by ‘Required Request’ and Donor Coordinators, and taking cognisance of the findings of the HSE audit on Brain Stem Deaths, this should significantly increase the number of organ donors."


2007 was an above average year for organ donors with 88 families who gave the gift of life from their loved ones. Seven of the donors were not of Irish origin, which reflects our now multicultural society.

This generosity transferred into 141 deceased donor kidney transplants, 49 liver, 7 heart and 4 lung transplants. There were 5 pancreas transplanted simultaneously with a kidney transplant. Two of the liver transplants were also conducted simultaneously with a kidney transplant. Five more kidney transplants were conducted via living donors making a total of 145 kidney transplants in 2007, the same numbers as 2006.

The liver transplant numbers were down slightly by 6 on the previous year. This is after 3 successive record breaking years of transplantation. St. Vincents carried out its 500th liver transplant during the course of 2007. Heart transplantation at 7 was half of the 2006 figure and lungs went from 9 in 2006 to 4 in 2007. Heart and lungs are the hardest organs to match. They have to be absolutely perfect before a transplant can be carried out.

The first Cystic Fibrosis lung transplant carried out in Ireland was one of the 4 lung transplants in 2007. The UK still conduct lung transplants on behalf of Irish patients. In total, 214 people received organ transplants in 2007 in Ireland, of which 7 had two organs transplanted at the same time.


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