Over 170 kidney transplants took place last year, 50 of which came from living donors, new figures have shown.
According to figures from the Department of Health, this is the highest number of living donor kidney transplants ever recorded. In 2008, just 10 kidneys came from living donors and the highest number recorded prior to last year was in 2014, when 40 living donor transplants took place.
"The Living Kidney Donor Programme continues to go from strength to strength. I congratulate our National Renal Transplant Service in Beaumont Hospital. Their excellent performance in 2016 saw a remarkable increase in living donor transplants from 33 in 2015 to 50 last year. And, as always I want to thank the donors of the living programme for their huge generosity in giving the opportunity for life-changing transplantation to their loved ones," commented the Minster for Health, Simon Harris.
Overall, 280 organ transplants were carried out in 2016 - an average of 23 per month. These were:
-172 kidney transplants at the National Renal Transplant Service in Beaumont Hospital
-58 liver transplants at the National Liver Transplant Service in St Vincent's University Hospital
-35 lung transplants and 15 heart transplants at the National Heart Lung Transplant Service in the Mater Hospital.
These organs were donated by 50 living (kidney) donors and 77 deceased donors.
"I want to thank the 77 families whose courage and generosity in donating organs saved the lives of so many people. Also I would like to thank the staff of the National Organ Procurement Service, the intensive care units and theatres, as well as the nurses and all staff in hospitals nationwide for their commitment. They play a key role to the donation process," commented Prof Jim Egan, director of Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland.
Menwhile, Minister Harris noted that the Pancreatic Transplant Programme is now running at St Vincent's University Hospital and pancreas transplants are due to recommence when a suitable donor/match occurs.
This programme used to be based in Beaumont Hospital, where it was founded by Dr David Hickey. However, when he retired at the end of 2014, the waiting list was suspended. It was eventually agreed to transfer the programme to St Vincent's and the waiting list went ‘live' again in January of this year.
As a result, no pancreas transplants have taken place in Ireland since 2014, when six were carried out.