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Chance for life: 265 organ transplants performed in Ukraine in 10 months of 2022

1 December 2022

Despite the large-scale war unleashed by the russian federation, the direction of transplantation in Ukraine continues to develop actively, giving a chance for life to Ukrainians whose diagnoses were previously a sentence.

The attitude to transplantation and post-mortem donation is gradually beginning to change. Due to the adoption by relatives and friends of post-mortem donors of a difficult but important decision, hundreds of Ukrainians — both adults and children — get a unique opportunity to save and extend their own lives.

The war did not stop Ukrainian doctors, who performed 265 organ transplants in 10 months of 2022 — this is more than in the same period of pre-war 2021.

Of the 265 transplants, 136 (or 51%) were performed from a deceased donor. Most often, the kidneys were transplanted — 188 times, the liver was transplanted to 52 people, and the heart — 25.

Currently, organ transplants are performed in 25 medical centers in the country. This year, most of them were held in the First Medical Association of Lviv, Shalimov`s National Institute of Surgery and Transplantation, and the Oberig clinic.

Also, 9 Ukrainian clinics successfully perform hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. For 10 months of 2022, 178 such transfers were made:

  • 134 of autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantations (the recipient is a donor for themselves),
  • 13 of allogeneic-related hematopoietic stem cell transplantations (bone marrow transplantation from a related donor),
  • 20 of allogeneic unrelated hematopoietic stem cell transplantations (human stem cells that are not related to the patient are used, when bone marrow was found due to the Ukrainian register of bone marrow donors in foreign registers and imported from abroad). Comparison of donor-recipient pairs in automatic mode is performed by a special UTCC electronic system,
  • 11 of haploidentical hematopoietic stem cell transplantations (the donor is the father or mother).

Most transplants were performed at the Kyiv bone marrow transplantation center, Cherkasy Regional Oncology Dispensary, the Okhmatdyt National Specialized Children’s Hospital and the National Cancer Institute.

In addition, during 2022, several significant events took place: the liver transplants for children began to be performed in the Okhmatdyt NSCH, doctors from Cherkasy and Kropyvnytskyi for the first time in Ukraine successfully performed a transplant combined with the method of total radiation, transplantologists of the First Medical Association of Lviv transplanted 9 organs from three post-mortem donors in 30 hours, etc.

Behind these figures are the dedicated and professional work of doctors, the intense struggle in operating rooms, stories about how some Ukrainians save others.

It should be recalled that for patients, the entire process of transplantation and lifetime receipt of immunosuppressants is free of charge, and the state pays for this.

Please also note that, according to the current legislation, those who died as a result of military operations (both military and civilian) cannot be donors of anatomical materials. In addition, post-mortem donors cannot be orphans and children deprived of parental care; people recognized as incapacitated, and those whose identity has not been established.

Due to the myths about “black transplantologists” that have been spreading for a long time, many Ukrainians have formed a biased attitude towards transplantation, but in reality, the situation is different. It is impossible to perform a transplant with a positive result, which is a technologically complex intervention, secretly, in an unsuitable room, without a multidisciplinary team of highly qualified specialists (when, in addition to specialized surgeons, therapists, cardiologists, nephrologists, nurses, laboratory assistants, etc. can participate in the operation), without prior comparison of the “donor-recipient” pair (which is automatically performed by the UTCC system).