The Eurotransplant Foundation is a service organization for collaborating transplant centers, laboratories and donor hospitals in eight countries. Eurotransplant is committed to making best use of available donor organs by matching each donor organ as well as possible with its recipient. Our allocation of organs is founded on medical and ethical considerations. We are democratically organized, with an Assembly, Board of Management, Council and nine advisory committees, giving physicians, scientists and policymakers their say in the policies and approach that Eurotransplant adopts.
Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Slovenia are members of Eurotransplant - representing a combined population of nearly 135 million. The benefits of collaboration arise not least from our use of a single donor reporting system and a single centrally-held waiting list. The other factor is that physicians and scientists within Eurotransplant combine forces and develop allocation rules for donor organs that are evidence-based and founded on medical experience.
There are approximately 15,000 patients on the centrally-held waiting list, a patient pool size that enables us to find a suitable recipient for virtually every donor organ. Where a perfect match is required, this too is possible, thanks to the patient pool size. In allocating organs, Eurotransplant gives consideration to the full range of donor and recipient characteristics, such as blood group and tissue type, ameliorating transplant outcomes and affording the patient a higher quality of life.
Eurotransplant arranges the allocation of about 7,000 donor organs every year. Our transnational collaboration boosts the most critical patients' chances, while our mutual solidarity also helps us to assist special groups such as children, rare blood group and rare tissue type patients.
The 81 transplant centers in the participating countries annotate all important patient characteristics in Eurotransplant's centrally-administered database for those awaiting an organ transplant. As soon as a donor organ becomes available, its characteristics are likewise entered on the database. This is the point at which the clock starts ticking: organs have to be transplanted within a couple of hours of removal from the donor - which is why an organization to take care of organ allocation and transport is literally a lifesaver. Trained staff man the Eurotransplant duty desk 24/7 to carry out this task.
When a donor's decease is flagged up, Eurotransplant at once draws up a match list for each organ that has become available, using a sophisticated computer application. There are four general principles that are weighed during allocation: expected transplant outcome; expert opinion as to the degree of urgency; how long the patient has been waiting; and the national organ balance for the participating nation involved. The expected transplant outcome is determined by factors including donor and recipient characteristics.
Eurotransplant's duty desk officer will then offer the donor organ to the transplant center for the patient at the top of the waiting list. As a safe measure, the transplant centre for the number two patient on the list will also receive a provisional offer. Once the organ has been accepted by the treating consultant, organ removal and transport are arranged.
Eurotransplant is ISO 9001 certified and is annually audited by impartial bodies.