2015 a record year for organ and tissue donation and transplantation in Australia

Australia’s donation and transplantation activity reached its highest levels in 2015, according to official figures released today by the Australian and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry (ANZOD) and the Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA).

“The 2015 record outcome of 435 deceased organ donors resulted in 1,303 organ transplant procedures, with a total 1,483 organs transplanted thereby saving and improving the lives of 1,241 people,” said Dr Helen Opdam, OTA National Medical Director.

“Steady growth continued in 2015, with Australia achieving a donation rate of 18.3 donors per million population (dpmp), exceeding the national target of 18.2 dpmp. This reflects a growth of 61 per cent in the national donation rate since 2009 (11.4 dpmp), when the national reform programme was introduced,” said Dr Opdam.

Australia’s 61 per cent growth in its donation rate is higher than that achieved by Spain (51 per cent) and the United Kingdom (39 per cent), at the same stage of implementing their reform program. While Australia’s donation rate is from a lower baseline, its growth compares well with leading countries.   

The 2015 outcomes in Australia represent:
•    a 76 per cent increase in the number of deceased organ donors (435 donors in 2015, compared with 247 in 2009) 
•    a 55 per cent increase in the number of transplant recipients (1,241 recipients in 2015, compared with 799 in 2009) 
•    a 55 per cent increase in the number of organ transplant procedures (1,303 transplants in 2015, compared with 843 in 2009).

“Increased donation activity resulted in record levels of kidney, heart, lung, liver and pancreas transplantation. This includes 718 kidneys transplanted from deceased donors, representing a 59 per cent increase over the 2009 outcome of 452,” said Professor Graeme Russ, ANZOD Executive Chair. 

The breakdown of donors in 2015 is: New South Wales – 127; Victoria – 126; Queensland – 72; South Australia – 42; Western Australia – 42; Australian Capital Territory – 13; Tasmania – 9; and, the Northern Territory – 4.
Professor Russ said, “South Australia, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory were national leaders in donation outcomes achieving donation rates over 21 dpmp, while New South Wales achieved the greatest growth in 2015, increasing from 12.6 dpmp in 2014 to 17.2 dpmp.”
“Australia’s potential for continued growth is clear, with jurisdictional outcomes in 2015 ranging from 24.7 dpmp to 15.1 dpmp across states and territories. 

Since 2009, the growth in donation activity has transformed the lives of 1,657 additional transplant recipients of the total 7,250 recipients. This equates to an average of a 276 additional recipients per year. A further 45 Australians received a live kidney transplant in 2015 through the Australian Paired Kidney Exchange (AKX) Program, of a total 154 transplants since 2010. 

There were 244 living donors in 2015, representing 9 per cent decrease in living organ donors compared to 2014. Of these, there were 241 living kidney donors and three donors who donated part of their liver. 

While there was a decrease in living donors in 2015, the OTA’s national Australia Paired Kidney Exchange has resulted in 154 kidney transplants since the program commenced in 2010.  Almost 30 per cent of these transplants occurred in 2015.

Tissue donation continued to improve the lives of Australians with 4,027 tissue donors reported in 2015.  Of these, 368 were deceased tissue donors resulting in 569 tissue donations.

Tissue donation enabled the transplant of 10,596 tissue grafts in 2015. This generous gift of donation improved the lives of 6,421 tissue transplant recipients, representing a 74 per cent increase over 2013, the first year tissue outcomes were nationally reported.

“In 2015 there were a total 1,266 eye donors, an increase of 9 per cent over the previous year. This resulted in 2,124 corneal transplants, a 12 per cent increase compared with 2014, and a 45 per cent increase over the 2009 outcome. Australian eye banks continued to meet all requests for eye tissue for transplantation in 2015,” Professor Russ said.

Despite the increase in donation rates, there is continued unmet demand for those waiting for an organ transplant in Australia, with 1,600 Australians on official transplant waiting lists at any one time.

“We are confident that the clinical reform and community awareness initiatives we are implementing as part of the national reform program will continue to deliver positive outcomes for more Australians awaiting a transplant,” said Dr Opdam.

The Australian Donation and Transplantation Activity Report 2015 is available at: http://www.donatelife.gov.au/national-performance-data

The 2015 Report from the Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry (ANZOD) is available at http://www.anzdata.org.au/anzod/updates/ANZOD2015summary.pdf
For more information visit www.donatelife.gov.au

Media contacts:
Organ and Tissue Authority
For interviews with Dr Helen Opdam, National Medical Director contact Cristina O’Brien on 
PH: 0403 058 662 or 02 6198 9871 or Email: cristina.obrien@donatelife.gov.au

For interviews with Professor Graeme Russ, Executive Chair contact 08 8222 0933


The Organ and Tissue Authority (OTA) leads implementation of the Australian Government’s national reform 
programme to increase organ and tissue donation and transplantation. 
The Australia and New Zealand Organ Donation Registry (ANZOD) is responsible for the collection and reporting on deceased organ donors in Australia and New Zealand. ANZOD records and reports on a wide range of statistics that relate to organ donation following death within Australia and New Zealand.


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