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Record number of organ transplants in Finland last year

Donated organs saved 450 people's lives, but another 570 or so are awaiting their turn.

Elinsiirto-operaatio.
A single organ donor can save the lives of up to half a dozen people. Image: AOP

Last year a record 453 organ transplants were carried out in Finland, says the Finnish Kidney and Liver Association. That exceeded the previous record from 2016 by more than 50.

Most common were kidney transplants, totalling 293, followed by 64 liver transplants.

Thirty patients received new hearts while 27 underwent lung transplants. There were also 39 pancreatic transplants, which were mostly carried out in combination with kidney transplants.

There were 141 organ donors in Finland last year, ranging in age from five to 82 years old, with 54 the average age, the association reports.

Everyone is an organ donor

There is a chronic shortage of organs for transplant, with about 570 people typically on the waiting list. Some 5-10 percent of those on the list die while awaiting organ replacements.

By law, every Finn is an organ donor unless he or she specifically forbids it. Anyone can confirm their willingness to have their organs harvested after death by signing an actual or electronic organ donation card.

One organ donor can save the lives of up to six people, the Kidney and Liver Association notes. Even someone with a serious illness can donate an organ as long as the organ itself is healthy, and the same goes for elderly individuals.

Transplant operations are concentrated at Helsinki University Central Hospital (HYKS), using organs collected at central hospitals around the country.

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