Eurotransplant plays a key role in the allocation and distribution of donor organs for transplantation. The allocation system is objective, transparent, reproducible and valid. It is designed to make the best match possible given the circumstances.
After removal a donor organ has to be transplanted within a few hours. An impeccably smooth running organization is literally of life-saving importance. Therefore the Eurotransplant central office is manned by specially trained staff, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
All transplantation centers within the member states of Eurotransplant have access to the central computer database. In this database, the transplantation centers enter the general and medical information of their recipients along with the recipient profile and the donor profile. These profiles contain the characteristics of patients and donors. This is the basic principle of making the best match possible given the circumstances.
When the information is entered into the central database, the patient is put on the (inter)national waiting list. At that point, the waiting time starts. The waiting time for kidney patients starts on the date of the first dialysis.
As soon as a donor becomes available within the Eurotransplant area, the regional tissue-typing laboratory determines the donor's blood group and tissue characteristics. All relevant (medical) information about the donor as well as information about the specific organs are transferred into the Eurotransplant database.
Eurotransplant generates a so-called match list for each donor organ. The match list is generated by a complicated computer algorithm that takes into account all medical and ethical criteria.
The allocation system is:
The match is based upon two general principles:
Furthermore, the following is taken into account:
The donor organs are offered to recipients according to their ranking on the match list. The duty desk officers of Eurotransplant inform the transplant coordinators and physicians in the patient’s transplant center. They also inform the transplant center of the second patient on the match list. The donor information is made available to both transplant centers. The treating physicians decide whether or not to accept the organ.
As soon as the organ is accepted, the physician contacts the patient. Eurotransplant establises contact between the donor hospital and the transplant center. The exact time of the procurement operation is determined. This happens in consultation with the transplant coordinator of the donor hospital. At the same time, the (crossborder) transportation of the organs from the donor hospital to the recipient(s) in the transplant hospitals is arranged.
If there are no suitable recipients within the Eurotransplant area, Eurotransplant contacts a sister organization, such as the British NHSBT or Scandiatransplant.
The whole process from the removal of the donor organ(s) to the implantation in the recipient must take no longer than a few hours. There is a limited time in which organs stay healthy outside the body (the cold ischemic period). An impeccably smooth-running organization is thus literally of life-saving importance. Therefore the Eurotransplant duty desk is manned by specially trained staff, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
In addition to the support from the physicians, assistance from the police, ambulance services and airline companies is also indispensable for Eurotransplant.
The Eurotransplant Manual contains the rules and regulations for the implementation and specification of national legislation and national guidelines for waiting list management, organ procurement and allocation.
Eurotransplant strives for the best possible match. This means: