18 Mar 2020: Trends in Donation and Transplant Amid Coronavirus

  • OPO’s
    • No policies from the OPTN have been implemented around testing of donors.
    • With the approved testing now becoming rapidly available across the country, more OPO’s are shifting toward testing donors.  There is still discrepancy around testing every donor vs testing only those with documented exposures.
    • There are definitely shifts with new referrals and follow ups.  OPO’s are moving away from mandating onsites of new referrals.  Use of EMR’s and calls to limit exposure to OPO staff in the hospital are happening.  Considerations for the fact referrals may be missed as hospital staff are becoming more taxed with responsibilities and patient care.  One of the things I heard from an OPO was a daily call to the Charge RN/Nurse Manager simply to confirm no potential missed referrals.
    • Hospital Development teams are also reaching out and communicating with smaller hospitals with historically less organ donor activity.  The thought being that patients normally transferred may be maintained at these facilities due to bed availability at larger hospitals.


  • Transplant Centers
    • More centers/programs have advised they will not recover without testing being done on the donor regardless of the exposure risk.
    • After the promising information shared by Dr  Lorenzo D’Antiga, (Pediatric Hepatology, Gastroenterology and Transplantation Hospital Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo Italy) around transplant recipients and immune response with the disease, there are concerns this may not be the case in the US.  Listserve information shared last night by Dr Michael Ison at Northwestern: “Not sure this is going to pan out to be true in the US.  WE have 2 proven and 2 probable transplant patients and all have severe pulmonary disease, two are intubated.  I am aware of a pediatric cancer patient that is severely ill.  The U Washington group has developed a registry with numerous transplant cases.”  He added that none of these were known to be donor derived.
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