Improving organ donation rates and transplantation in Australia

Richard DM Allen and Henry CC Pleass
Med J Aust 2017; 207 (7): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.00590
Published online: 2 October 2017

Broader acceptance of organs from circulatory death donors would increase donor rates significantly

The initiative funded by the Federal Government in 2009 to improve both the identification of potential deceased organ donors and family consent rates has dramatically changed the prospects for Australians with end-stage organ failure. The subsequent establishment of a coordinated DonateLife network, with more than 150 medical and nursing staff charged with identifying potential organ donors, has led to the donation rate increasing over the past 5 years from 11.4 to 20.9 donors per million population (pmp) in 2016. Record numbers of organ transplants and reduced waiting times for transplantation have resulted.1,2

  • 1 Bosch Institute, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 Westmead Hospital, Sydney, NSW


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry. Summary of organ donation: organs retrieved and actually transplanted. Dec 2016. (accessed Aug 2017).
  • 2. Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry. Monthly report on deceased organ donation in Australia. Dec 2016. (accessed Aug 2017).
  • 3. Rakhra SS, Opdam HI, Gladkis L, et al. Untapped potential in Australian hospitals for organ donation after circulatory death. Med J Aust 2017; 207: 294-301.
  • 4. Cao Y, Shahrestani S, Chew HC, et al. Donation after circulatory death for liver transplantation: a meta-analysis on the location of life support withdrawal affecting outcomes. Transplantation 2016; 100: 1513-1524.
  • 5. Levvey BJ, Harkess M, Hopkins P, et al. Excellent clinical outcomes from a national donation after cardiac death lung transplant collaborative. Am J Transplant 2012; 12: 2406-2413.
  • 6. Dhittal KK, Iyer A, Connellan M, et al. Adult heart transplantation with distant procurement and ex-vivo preservation of donor hearts after circulatory death: a case series. Lancet 2015; 385: 2585-2591.


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