This Sunday sees the start of the 19th World Transplant Games in Durban, South Africa. The games offer the opportunity for people who have undergone a transplant to compete in a variety of competitive sports at the highest level. Here’s this week’s Quickfire Science on organ transplantation.
- 1,000 people die in the UK every year waiting for a transplant.
- The first organ transplant was a thyroid transplant, carried out by Theodor Kocher in 1883.
- Although some organs can be donated by living donors, most organs are only suitable for donation after the death of the donor. The first successful deceased-donor transplant was a kidney transplant between identical twins in 1954
- A single organ donor can save or improve the lives of up to 50 recipients
- Between April 2011 and March 2012 3,960 transplants were completed in the UK, with organs from 2,143 donors
- Neither medical condition nor age are necessarily barriers to organ donation; there is no cut-off age for donation and very few medical conditions automatically disqualify you from donating your organs.
- On average, a patient in the UK will have to wait just over 3 years for a kidney transplant.
- 90% of Brits say they are in favour of organ transplant, but only around 31% of us are signed up on the Organ Donor Register
- The World Transplant Games, which start this week, is an international sporting event in which all participants have received an organ transplant. Sports range from swimming and athletics to badminton and lawn bowls.
- The current World Transplant games record for the 100m sprint stands at 11.16 seconds – just 1.58 seconds slower than Ussain Bolt’s world record time.