National survey on deceased donor organ transplantation during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan

Taihei Ito, Takashi Kenmochi, Atsuhiko Ota, Kaori Kuramitsu, Akihiko Soyama, Osamu Kinoshita, Susumu Eguchi, Kenji Yuzawa, Hiroto Egawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: We investigated the status of deceased organ donation and transplantation through a questionnaire distributed to transplant centers in Japan during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: The questionnaire was distributed electronically to 206 transplant centers for heart (n = 11), lung (n = 10), liver (n = 25), kidney (n = 130), pancreas (n = 18), and small intestine (n = 12) transplantation. Organ donations and organ transplantation data were extracted from the Japan Organ Transplant Network website. Results: We received questionnaire responses from 177 centers (response rate, 86%). In 2020, the number of brain-dead donors (BDDs) decreased to 68 (69% of the year-on-year average) and the number of donors after cardiac death (DCDs) decreased to 9 (32% of the year-on-year average). Eighty-five (48%) transplant centers (heart, n = 0; lung, n = 0; liver, n = 4; kidney, n = 78; pancreas, n = 22; and small intestine, n = 0) suspended transplant surgeries in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, the number of organ transplantations from deceased donors was significantly lower in 2020 than in 2019. Conclusion: Although the COVID-19 pandemic has had less impact in Japan than in other countries, it has affected transplantation activity significantly, suspending transplantation surgeries in 48% of the transplantation centers, including 78% of the kidney transplantation centers, and reducing the number of organ donations to 61% of the year-on-year average.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-773
Number of pages11
JournalSurgery Today
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 05-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery


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