• It reaches new all-time high of 48.9 donors per million population and approaches 5,500 transplants

  • The number of bone marrow donors is also increasing and now stands at 420,000


Spain, the world leader in organ donation and transplantation for 28 consecutive years, continues to improve and is once again breaking its own record, reaching 48.9 donors per million population (p.m.p.) in 2019. A total of 2,301 donors have performed 5,449 organ transplants, with historic records in kidney and lung transplants, bringing the total to 116 transplants p.m.p. Incredible figures that reflect the solidarity of our society and the excellent coordination of the Spanish National Transplant Organisation (ONT), which has become a reference for the rest for the world.

Despite the fact that the starting point was from a level of excellence, the innovation and efficiency of our health system has enabled us to improve our figures. In total, 3,423 kidney, 1,227 liver, 419 lung, 300 heart, 76 pancreas and 4 intestinal transplants have been performed. There has also been a 14% increase in living donor kidney transplants.

Donation by asystole – the absence of ventricular contractions resulting in irreversible cardiac arrest – has become the most widespread form of donation: 32% of the total, or 744 donors. A figure that has grown by 18% with respect to last year. The number of donors who died in traffic accidents is 4.4%, one of the lowest in the last decade – due to the reduction of fatal traffic accidents on our roads.

In terms of the age of donors, more than half are over 60, one third are over 70, and 8.5% are over 80.

In addition to the large annual average figures, ONT had a record level of activity in November. In less than 24 hours, it managed 19 donors throughout Spain. Twenty-seven hospitals in 13 autonomous regions and one French hospital participated in the various operations.


Ten Autonomous Regions exceed 50 donors per million population


Andalusia, Asturias, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Valencia, Galicia, Murcia, Navarre and the Basque Country are above the national average and above the 50 donors p.m.p. Cantabria stands out in particular, with 89.7 donors p.m.p., followed by the Basque Country (65), Murcia (63.8) and the Balearic Islands (54.4). In terms of the increase in absolute numbers, Catalonia stands out, followed by Aragon, Castile-La Mancha and the Community of Valencia.

Cooperation and coordination between autonomous regions has also been key. Some 1,200 patients have received transplants thanks to the exchange of organs between these communities, representing 24% of the total.


Other highlights in 2019


Last year, Spain and Italy carried out the second international crossover kidney transplant in southern Europe, in a complicated logistical operation coordinated by the ONT with the participation of the Puigvert Foundation in Barcelona and the Kidney Transplant unit of Padua.

Progress has also been made on the ABO Incompatible Heart Transplantation programme, launched in 2018, which has already performed 6 transplants of this type. And 127 hyperimmunized kidney patients, with little chance of finding a compatible donor, have been able to receive a transplant in 2019 thanks to the PATHI Program. Patients who, on average, had been on the waiting list for 6 years due to their complex immune situation. 485 renal patients have benefited from this program in five years.


National Marrow Plan


As of January 1, 2020, Spain already had 420,730 bone marrow donors registered in the Spanish Registry of Bone Marrow Donors (REDMO). Of these, 38,108 are donors who registered in 2019, an increase of 9.2% over the previous year. The increase in the number of donors registered in REDMO and the qualitative improvement of the registry are objectives of the third phase of the National Bone Marrow Plan.
In addition, the ONT has signed a collaboration agreement with the Spanish Private Health Association (ASPE) to promote and standardise organ donation in private hospitals throughout the country, in cooperation with and under the supervision of the public sector. In 2019, 40 donors (1.7% of the total) were identified in private hospitals.