Tuesday, 17 December 2013

How Does Religion Affect Organ Donation Rates?

In most countries, religion (or faith tradition) plays a key role in determining public attitudes toward the values its citizens hold.   Because altruism and end-of-life care are so tightly coupled with successful organ donation, many scholars believe that a country's dominant religion significantly influences its organ donation rates.

While most religions and faith traditions are supportive of organ and tissue donation, as you can see in the graphics on this page, there is much variability between donation rates between countries and .  

In general, predominantly Muslim countries tend to have the highest living donation rates, whereas predominantly Christian countries tend to have higher deceased donation rates.   

You can model and compare the impact religion may play on a country's living and deceased organ donation rates by positioning your cursor over the regions in the maps on this page.

How Does Presumed Consent Legislation Affect Deceased Organ Donation Rates?

This visualization is designed to compare organ donation rates from countries with Presumed Consent (also known as "Opt-out") organ donation legislation with those that have Explicit Consent (also know as "Opt-in") organ donation policies.  Note that several countries have changed their consent policies during the periods for which we have data.  In particular, Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and Mexico. 

While it is true that the majority of the countries with the world's highest deceased organ donation rates have adopted Presumed Consent legislation, it is also true that many of the developed countries with the world's lowest rates are also Presumed Consent countries.   So as alluring as it may be to believe that adopting Presumed Consent legislation will raise a country's donation rates--this is not an accurate assumption.

While consent models are obviously important to the outcome of any organ donation system, many experts around the world now believe that increased organ donation rates are more closely associated with systemic changes in health care system that facilitate early identification of potential organ donors.  In particular, close monitoring and very early identification of those patients who are likely to become brain dead.

Aric Bendorf

Saturday, 14 December 2013

How Do Organ Retrieval Rates Affect the Number of Transplants Performed?

A country's organ donation rate, or donors per million population (pmp) is the metric most frequently used to measure and compare the success of organ donation for transplantation systems around the world.  However, there are other factors that impact on the number of transplants that a country performs.  One of the most important of these is the number of organs retrieved from each donor.  The higher the number of organs retrieved per donor, the higher the number of transplants that can be performed.  

A country with a lower organ donation rate but with a higher per donor organ retrieval rate, may actually perform a higher number of transplants than a country with a higher donation rate but with a lower per donor organ retrieval rate.

The visualization below is designed to demonstrate how the number of transplants performed per donor varies across the countries in our data set.  You can explore these differences by positioning your cursor over each country and selecting different years to see how these numbers change by country and over time.