The demand for organ transplantation is growing world-wide due to the increased incidence of organ failure and the improvement in post-transplant outcome. However, the number of organs suitable for transplantation is limited, which has resulted in an organ shortage crisis.
In the United States alone, there are nearly 112'000 patients on the waiting list. Of these, 22'000 were transplanted with organs from deceased organ donors and 5'000 with organs from living donors. Unfortunately more than 7'000 patients will die before a transplant is possible, depriving thousands of patients and their families of a new and better quality of life.
During 2010 in Switzerland, there were 1'700 patients on the waiting list. 504 transplantations were performed this year - 388 with organs from deceased organ donors and 116 with organs from living donors. 59 patients died awaiting an organ transplantation.
The number of donors is increasing world-wide, but the Swiss donation rates show very little variation and is amongst the lowest in Europe. Different improvement measures have been suggested, such as financial remuneration, reciprocal models and modification of the law, but all of these proposals are still under discussion. The creation & organisation of organ donation networks is underway and we are beginning to see an increase in deceased organ donation in these areas.
We are hoping that the raised awareness surrounding the 8th Winter World Transplant Games will help to inform the Swiss public about the importance of taking their own decision about organ donation.