COVID-19 and solid organ transplant

News and resources for organ procurement organizations and transplant hospitals about COVID-19

Report interruptions and issues related to COVID-19

Learn more

Data

Current state of 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.

Risk of transmission

Risk of transmitting disease through solid organ transplantation is not known at the time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID-19 website provides the most up to date information regarding recommended precautions, global risk assessment, and travel.

Latest updates

April 4, 2020 — Read full details

The OPTN Executive Committee approved new policy actions, including:

  • Temporary suspension of living donor and transplant recipient follow-up forms
  • Changes to wait time initiation for non-dialysis kidney candidates
  • COVID-19 infectious disease testing in DonorNet®

April 1, 2020 — Read full details

  • UNOS, ASTS, AOPO and AST all urge local recovery of organs
  • New option to report cause of death for transplant candidates and recipients
  • SRTR extends data review period deadline from April 30 to May 31
  • New resources

March 28, 2020 — Read full details

UNOS strongly encourages local recovery of organs. UNOS urges members to arrange for the surgical recovery of organs by local teams whenever possible including by recovery surgeons who may be available within the donor hospital.

March 27, 2020 — Read full details

  • COVID-specific organ offer refusal codes for transplant programs
  • Temporary COVID-19 inactivation for multiple kidney transplant candidates
  • Special pathogens update
  • Protecting the health of transplant clinicians and procurement teams
  • Encouraging local recovery

March 24, 2020Read full details

  • Patient safety portal reporting
  • AJT offers open access to papers dealing with COVID-19

March 20, 2020Read full details

  • New CMS guidance: adult elective surgery and procedure guidelines
  • Program inactivation and patient notification
  • Outcome and performance measurement
  • OPTN data entry guidance
  • Donor testing for COVID-19

March 18, 2020Read full details

For transplant programs:

  • Making candidates temporarily inactive
  • Clarification if need to change candidate code
  • Inactivating transplant program
  • Consider alternate organ retrieval options and work closely with OPOs

For organ procurement organizations:

  • To the extent practical, continue to follow the match run.
  • What to do if transportation systems become disrupted
  • OPOs often make logistical judgment calls in order to ensure that an organ is transplanted, and they should continue to do so now.

Webinar

COVID-19: Organ Donation and Transplant Town Hall Webinar

Organ donation and transplant professionals from around the world convened on March 23 in a town hall webinar aimed at helping health care professionals navigate the ever-evolving COVID-19 health crisis. Watch to learn more.

  1. Introduction
  2. Presentation, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention
  3. Getting to Transplant
  4. Operational Issues
  5. Next Steps: Data Collection and Sharing
  6. Resources and Final Thoughts

CMS issues recommendations for surgeries and procedures during COVID-19 crisis

Read more

A message from Brian Shepard, CEO, United Network for Organ Sharing

“UNOS is committed to supporting the donation and transplant community as you meet the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak. We have plans and contingencies in place to ensure the uninterrupted operation of the UNetSM system and the Organ Center.

Communication and cooperation are hallmarks of our community, and they have never been more important than today. As transportation, logistics, testing, and treatment challenges impact donation and transplant, it is important that the community remains transparent and flexible.”

Resources

Transplant program resources
  • The American Society of Transplantation has developed FAQ for organ transplantation that relays information on the current state of COVID-19 as it relates to transplantation.
  • The Transplantation Society offers additional recommendations, with a particular emphasis on living donors and/or transplant patients who have traveled to or from areas where COVID-19 is especially widespread.
  • New policy language is in effect March 17, 2020 regarding data submission requirements for transplant candidates in cases where data collection is affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, a new candidate inactivation code, “COVID-19 precaution,” has been added to WaitlistSM. Find details on the policy change notice.
  • To facilitate patient care and advance science, and ensure that accurate knowledge and experience is available to all during this current time of crisis, the American Journal of Transplantation has been expediting review of all papers dealing with COVID-19, as well as making them free to access for all.
  • COVID-19: Clinical Advice from UK National Health Service documenting what is happening in UK transplantation New

Inactivation FAQ and sample letters

Organ procurement organization resources

The Association of Organ Procurement Organizations has developed an informational resource addressing donor evaluation and OPO procedures in light of potential COVID-19 infection. Please check the AOPO site frequently for updates.

Patient resources

Reporting

How to report interruptions and issues

The OPTN is collecting information about challenges and issues created by the outbreak in order to evaluate further improvements and assistance that Health and Human Services, the OPTN and UNOS can provide. Please use this survey tool to report interruptions or issues. Please note that the link works in the Google Chrome browser, but it does not work in Internet Explorer.

Report COVID-19 issues

How to report transplant candidate data

The OPTN Executive Committee has approved an emergency policy allowing transplant programs to certify that the lab values already in the system are the most currently available labs and “carry forward.” This will ensure that candidates’ allocation scores are not negatively impacted by challenges with clinic visits and laboratory testing, preventing automatic downgrades. Hospitals that wish to update lab values for candidates can still do so.

How to report transplant candidate data

MPSC reviews

The Membership and Professional Standards Committee (MPSC) is a body of peers from within the donation and transplant community. OPTN policies and requirements have not been suspended. 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.

Site surveys will be conducted virtually at least through the end of April, and any member who is not able to participate in a survey at this time can request a delay by emailing MQFeedback@UNOS.org.

The OPTN Membership and Professional Standards Committee and the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients will work together to make changes to the outcomes metrics that reflect the challenges of this unique environment. While we are determining how or whether to conduct reviews of this period, please continue to make the best clinical decisions regarding your donors and patients. We will provide updates as we have more specific information to share.

Questions

If you have any additional questions, please contact member.questions@unos.org or call 844-395-4428.

UNOS IT Customer Service Desk is available 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. EST. Contact unethelpdesk@unos.org or 800-978-4334.

The Organ Center is available around the clock and can be reached at 800-292-9537.

Meetings and events

OPTN committee meetings. All OPTN committee meetings through April 21 have been converted to virtual meetings. Meetings later than that date are being evaluated.

Transplant Management Forum. The 2020 Transplant Management Forum (TMF) scheduled for April 6-8 in Las Vegas is canceled.

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