COVID-19 pandemic is testing countries’ healthcare systems to an extent we could not have imagined 4 months ago. The mechanisms of the disease remain largely unclear; treatment is, for now, mostly supportive.
Transplantation Programs – another COVID-19 victim
Transplantation Programs are in the casualties front-line. All around the world life support equipment’s as Ventilators and Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation have been in high demand to save COVID-19 patients. As a result, the lives of all those in waiting lists were put on hold. The Official Journal of the Transplantantion Society has been sharing information on the subject (the info below is from mid-March), from which I have gathered some examples:
- Australia: living and deceased donor kidney activity has stopped for a period;
- Canada, Montreal: the living donor kidney transplantation has stopped, and deceased donors are being assessed case by case; over 70 years donors were not accepted;
- Denmark: deceased donor kidney, liver, lung, and heart transplantations are being continued. Combined kidney-pancreas transplantation has been paused. Organ exchange within the Scandinavian deceased donor exchange program is maintained at present;
- England, London: patients with acute liver failure are still listed and transplanted. Routine transplantation proceeds, but it was expected to slow because of an increasing number of COVID-19 positive donors and a lack of Intensive Care beds.
- France, Paris: the program of liver transplantation proceeded, and a decreasing number of donors was expected;
- Spain, Madrid: elective and living donor transplantation were postponed, and only emergency lifesaving transplant procedures continue; all non-emergency appointments, laboratory tests, and procedures were canceled.
Our obligation: to disrupt the “as is”
Now, a month later, we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We still have some weeks of quarantine in front of us, but good things MUST emerge from all this tragedy. Transplantation has suffered and still is suffering the pandemic consequences. Patients on waiting lists deserve an opportunity and fast.
It’s crucial to manage all the resources, maximizing opportunities. The abundance of ventilators provided by COVID-19 must be used to propel transplantation. Therefore, a Post COVID-19 Contingency Plan is needed, not only to quickly tackle patients’ needs but also to prepare the hospitals, in particular, and health systems, in general, to the next pandemic wave, including clear measures to ensure the lives of all patients in waiting lists will a) be attended asap; b) not be left behind if and when the second pandemic wave comes… as well as to support all transplanted patients to maintain their quality of life. We must take this opportunity to disrupt the “as is”. How can TransplantHUB help in a post COVID-19 contingency plan?
We are prepared to support healthcare efforts, around the world, public or private, with TransplantHUB, our software to manage the donation and transplantation workflows. Its management support, process reach and simplification, robustness, integration capabilities, and flexibility will provide a secure basis to ensure countries the confidence to scale their operations.