The Impact of COVID-19 on Organ Donation, Procurement and Liver Transplantation in the United States
Journal: 2020/October - Hepatology Communications
Abstract:
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had an impact on all facets of our health care system, including life-saving procedures like organ transplantation. Concerns for potential exposure to the causative severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have profoundly altered the process of organ donation and recovery that is vital to the execution of organ transplantation. Issues regarding adequate donor evaluation and consent, organ recovery, organ procurement organization (OPO) and donor hospital resources as well as the transplant center's acceptance of organ offers for their candidates have all required new practice paradigms. Consequently, the ability to treat patients with organ failure, in particular patients with end stage liver disease where no temporizing treatments exist, and to obtain expected excellent outcomes for new liver transplant recipients has been challenged during this time. We summarize some of the negative effects of the current pandemic on organ recovery and liver transplantation as well as offer considerations and strategies for their mitigation that could have a lasting impact on the field even after COVID-19 has waned.
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The Impact of COVID‐19 on Organ Donation, Procurement and Liver Transplantation in the United States

Yale School of Medicine, Departments of Surgery, New Haven CT, USA,
Departments of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven CT, USA,
United Network for Organ Sharing, Richmond VA, USA,
David C. Mulligan, Email: ude.elay@nagillum.divad.
Corresponding author.
Corresponding Author: David C. Mulligan, MD, FACS
Professor of Surgery, Yale School of Medicine, 310 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520
E‐mail: ude.elay@nagillum.divad,
This is an open access article under the terms of the http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic has had an impact on all facets of our health care system, including life‐saving procedures like organ transplantation. Concerns for potential exposure to the causative severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) have profoundly altered the process of organ donation and recovery that is vital to the execution of organ transplantation. Issues regarding adequate donor evaluation and consent, organ recovery, organ procurement organization (OPO) and donor hospital resources as well as the transplant center’s acceptance of organ offers for their candidates have all required new practice paradigms. Consequently, the ability to treat patients with organ failure, in particular patients with end stage liver disease where no temporizing treatments exist, and to obtain expected excellent outcomes for new liver transplant recipients has been challenged during this time. We summarize some of the negative effects of the current pandemic on organ recovery and liver transplantation as well as offer considerations and strategies for their mitigation that could have a lasting impact on the field even after COVID‐19 has waned.
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