Organ transplant survival rate here is better than UK
PATIENTS who undergo an organ transplant in Ireland have a better chance in most cases of surviving the operation than patients in Britain.
An Irish patient who had a lung transplant has an 81pc chance of survival in five years compared to 51pc in the UK, according to the first annual report of the HSE's National National Organ Donation and Transplantation Office.
The five-year survival rate for those who have a liver transplant here is 79pc while it is 78pc in the UK – both are above the European average of 71pc.
The 10-year survival rate for Irish heart transplant patients is 62pc versus 54pc in the UK, with an international average of 55pc, the report revealed.
The outlook is also better for those who undergo a pancreatic transplant as well as adult kidney transplant patients, the report launched by Health Minister James Reilly revealed.
However, it is less so for children who have a kidney operation – 94pc survival after 10 years in in Ireland compared to 96pc in the UK.
Prof Jim Egan, director of the National Organ Donation and Transplantation Office, said the better outcomes can be linked to the quality of doctors and care patients receive in the Mater, St Vincent's and Beaumont Hospitals.
Although last year was a record year for transplants, Ireland ranked just 16th in Europe in 2012 for donor organ rates with Croatia, Spain, Belgium and Malta leading the table.
The report pointed out that the average waiting times for a kidney and pancreatic transplant is 29 months while it is three and a half months for a liver organ.
Patients can wait 15 months for a lung and 11 months for a new heart. More than 600 people nationally are waiting for an organ transplant.
"More organ donations are needed for those who are still awaiting a transplant. I would encourage everyone to have a conversation with their loved ones and let their wishes be known about organ donation. This will make decisions easier for families who are faced with the question of organ donation," said Prof Egan.
He pointed out that last year was a record for transplants and 246 people got a new lease of life thanks to the generosity of 86 families of deceased donors.
One in five kidney transplants were as a result of a living donor.
A record 32 lung transplants, 11 heart transplants, 55 liver transplants, 11 pancreas and 185 kidney transplants were carried out in 2013.
This is the first time that survival outcome data has been published in addition to organ transplantation rates.