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COVID-19 and solid organ transplant
News and resources for organ procurement organizations and transplant hospitals about COVID-19
Current state of organ donation and transplantation
This data visualization shows high-level data on transplants, deceased donors recovered, patients added to the waitlist and patients temporarily moved to inactive waitlist status*. It is updated daily. Find detailed and localized data through the preceding month in the OPTN website’s data section.
*A temporary inactivation means that the transplant program has determined that a candidate is temporarily unavailable or unsuitable for transplantation and should not receive organ offers. The transplant program may reactivate the candidate at any time.
All organ donation and transplant professionals
Joint society statement on vaccination for transplant recipients (May 7, 2021)
Out of concern following multiple publications on post-transplant COVID-19 vaccine studies in solid organ transplant patients and the possibility that this will make post-transplant patients hesitant to get vaccinated, infectious disease physicians from AST and ISHLT collaborated to develop guidance urging transplant candidates to be vaccinated whenever feasible. Leaders from across the transplant community have expressed support for the statement, including AASLD, ASTS, ITNS, TTS, NATCO, CST and UNOS. Learn more.
COVID-19 policy and data actions
- Lower respiratory testing of all potential lung donors for SARS-CoV-2 to take effect May 27 NEW
- Effective April 1, 20201: COVID-19 data amnesty status for follow-up forms ended; Retrospective forms due July 1
- Emergency actions help members protect patient safety and access to transplant during COVID-19
- COVID-19 offer refusal codes
- Changes to wait time initiation for non-dialysis kidney candidates
- Relaxation of TIEDI data submission requirements
- COVID-19 infectious disease testing in DonorNet
Summary of Evidence on SARS-CoV-2 donor evaluation and testing
The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network has released a Summary of Evidence on SARS-CoV-2 donor evaluation and testing, as well as organ recovery from donors with a history of COVID-19. Compiled by the OPTN Ad Hoc Disease Transmission Advisory Committee (DTAC), the document includes the latest information known for minimizing the risk of donor-derived COVID-19 transmission while maximizing donor utilization.
The committee developed the summary in collaboration with colleagues representing AST, ASTS, AOPO, HRSA, and the CDC. This document contains information on the following:
- SARS-CoV-2 deceased donor evaluation and testing
- Recovery of organs from deceased donors with a history of resolved COVID-19
- Recovery of organs from deceased donors with active COVID-19
- SARS-CoV-2 living donor testing and other precautions to minimize the risk of donor-derived COVID-19
- Recovery of organs from living donors with a history of resolved COVID-19
DTAC has committed to reviewing the document quarterly.
AST recommendations and guidance for organ donor testing
- May 27, 2021: SRTR announces monitoring changes for January 2022 reporting cycle in response to COVID-19
- Mar. 16, 2021: SRTR announces monitoring changes for July 2021 reports in response to COVID-19
- Aug. 7, 2020: SRTR modifying evaluation metrics for transplant programs and OPOs
- April 1, 2020: SRTR extends data review period deadline to May 31
On March 25, 2021, the OPTN Membership and Professional Standards Committee agreed to resume monitoring of transplant program functional activity and patient notification requirements, effective July 1, 2021.
All updates to monitoring changes may be found in a supplement to the OPTN member evaluation plan on the OPTN compliance page.
This supplemental document serves as a quick-reference guide to all temporary member monitoring changes implemented as a result of the pandemic. Unless new monitoring changes are implemented or effective dates are delayed, it will be retired on July 1, 2021. Any remaining changes as of that date will be published in the OPTN Member Evaluation Plan.
Site surveys are being conducted virtually and will resume in person when it is safe to do so. UNOS Member Quality has been able to maintain the three-year schedule and keep the site survey process fully intact while virtual, and all virtual participants have responded positively in follow-up surveys.
The MPSC and the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients have made adjustments to the July 2021 program-specific reports (PSRs) and OPO-specific reports (OSRs). Evaluation cohorts will continue to exclude transplants and follow-up time beyond March 12, 2020. Find details about the SRTR monitoring changes here.
About MPSC and rationale for COVID-19 updates
The MPSC is a body of peers from within the donation and transplant community. It maintains membership criteria and monitors OPTN member compliance with OPTN membership criteria, OPTN bylaws and policies, and the OPTN Final Rule.
OPTN policies and requirements have not been suspended as a result of COVID-19. However, deviations from OPTN requirements will be evaluated in the context of the circumstances that have arisen due to this national crisis. The MPSC will look for a commitment to patient safety, stewardship of donated organs, and the rationale for the decisions that your transplant program or OPO make.
Reporting interruptions and issues
The OPTN is collecting information about challenges and issues created by the outbreak in order to evaluate further improvements or assistance that HHS, the OPTN and UNOS can provide. Please use the survey tool linked below to report interruptions or issues. Please note that the link works in the Google Chrome browser, but it does not work in Internet Explorer.
Journal of Nephrology
- COVID-19 and the kidney: what we think we know so far and what we don’t (Published: 20 July 2020)
- FAQ for organ transplantation
- Recommendations and guidance for organ donor testing
- Vaccine FAQ updated
CDC COVID-19 website
- SARS-CoV-2 Infections among Recent Organ Recipients, March–May 2020, United States
- CDC list of state health department websites for information about travel restrictions
- Interim infection prevention and control recommendations
- Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
NAS Annual Meeting: Experts Discuss COVID-19 Pandemic and Science’s Response
Inactivating and reactivating programs and candidates
- System modification to WaitlistSM allows hospitals to reactivate liver candidates without having to update labs
- Reactivation process for multiple kidney transplant candidates now available
- Making candidates temporarily inactive
- Maintain wait time for inactive candidates
- Temporary COVID-19 precaution inactivation for multiple kidney transplant candidates
COVID-19 vaccination information
- COVID-19 vaccination in heart and lung transplantation: Recommendations from the International Society of Heart & Lung Transplantation (ISHLT) COVID-19 Task Force
Find additional patient-focused vaccination resources on the Transplant Living website.
Patient resources and questions Updated
Organ procurement organizations
Organ matching guidance
To the extent practical, continue to follow the match run. If transportation systems become disrupted and an organ cannot be transported to a hospital on the match run, use the 861 bypass code and proceed to allocate as high on the match run as logistics allow. These decisions should be based on the availability of transportation options, not on DSA or regional boundaries.
COVID-19 testing and results
COVID-19: Organ Donation and Transplant Town Hall International Webinar #4
Organ transplant organizations convened for a fourth town-hall style webinar to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on organ donation and transplant.
Recorded webinars: Effective practices and guidance
Members, you can now find COVID-19 webinars on UNOS Connect. Transplant and OPO professionals share effective practices related to organ recovery and transplantation during COVID-19. Available now:
- COVID-19: Past, present and future OPO operations
- Telemedicine, transplant and COVID-19: One transplant center’s experience
- COVID-10: Past, present and future transplant center operations