Transplant of organs from donors with positive SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid testing: A report from the organ procurement and transplantation network ad hoc disease transmission advisory committee.

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Transplant infectious disease : an official journal of the Transplantation Society


washington, swedish, covid-19


BACKGROUND: Decisions to transplant organs from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) nucleic acid test-positive (NAT+) donors must balance risk of donor-derived transmission events (DDTE) with the scarcity of available organs.

METHODS: Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) data were used to compare organ utilization and recipient outcomes between SARS-CoV-2 NAT+ and NAT- donors. NAT+ was defined by either a positive upper or lower respiratory tract (LRT) sample within 21 days of procurement. Potential DDTE were adjudicated by OPTN Disease Transmission Advisory Committee.

RESULTS: From May 27, 2021 (date of OTPN policy for required LRT testing of lung donors) to January 31, 2022, organs were recovered from 617 NAT+ donors from all OPTN regions and 53 of 57 (93%) organ procurement organizations. NAT+ donors were younger and had higher organ quality scores for kidney and liver. Organ utilization was lower for NAT+ donors compared to NAT- donors. A total of 1241 organs (776 kidneys, 316 livers, 106 hearts, 22 lungs, and 21 other) were transplanted from 514 NAT+ donors compared to 21 946 organs from 8853 NAT- donors. Medical urgency was lower for recipients of NAT+ liver and heart transplants. The median waitlist time was longer for liver recipients of NAT+ donors. The match run sequence number for final acceptor was higher for NAT+ donors for all organ types. Outcomes for hospital length of stay, 30-day mortality, and 30-day graft loss were similar for all organ types. No SARS-CoV-2 DDTE occurred in this interval.

CONCLUSIONS: Transplantation of SARS-CoV-2 NAT+ donor organs appears safe for short-term outcomes of death and graft loss and ameliorates the organ shortage. Further study is required to assure comparable longer term outcomes.


Infectious Diseases