Organ donation during the COVID-19 pandemic

Ola Ahmed, Diane Brockmeier, Kevin Lee, William C. Chapman, M. B.Majella Doyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is a rapidly changing circumstance with dramatic policy changes and universal efforts to deal with the initial crisis and minimize its consequences. To identify changes to organ donation and transplantation during this time, an anonymous web-based survey was distributed to 19 select organ procurement organizations (OPOs) throughout the United States comparing 90-day activity during March-May 2020 and March-May 2019. Seventeen OPOs responded to the survey (response rate of 89.5%). Organ authorization decreased by 11% during the current pandemic (n = 1379 vs n = 1552, P =.0001). Organ recovery for transplantation fell by 17% (P =.0001) with a further 18% decrease in the number of organs transplanted (P =.0001). Donor cause of death demonstrated a 4.5% decline in trauma but a 35% increase in substance abuse cases during the COVID-19 period. All OPOs reported significant modifications in response to the pandemic, limiting the onsite presence of staff and transitioning to telephonic approaches for donor family correspondence. Organ donation during the current climate has seen significant changes and the long-term implications of such shifts remain unclear. These trends during the COVID-19 era warrant further investigation to address unmet needs, plan for a proportionate response to the virus and mitigate the collateral impact.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3081-3088
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020


  • clinical research/ practice
  • donors and donation
  • health services and outcomes research
  • infection and infectious agents—viral
  • organ procurement and allocation
  • organ procurement organization
  • organ transplantation in general


Dive into the research topics of 'Organ donation during the COVID-19 pandemic'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this