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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.
COVID-19 policy and data actions
- 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
AST recommendations and guidance for organ donor testing
In response to inquiries regarding COVID-19, the American Society of Transplantation’s Infectious Disease Community of Practice has developed recommendations regarding organ donor testing. This guidance reflects the current state of knowledge and involves questions pertaining to screening and testing of living and deceased donors in the COVID era. Learn more here.
The OPTN Membership and Professional Standards Committee leadership has evaluated specific areas of monitoring that are raising particular concern within the community. In an effort to encourage transplant programs to use their clinical judgement about what is in the best interests of their patients without the added concern of strict compliance with OPTN obligations, the MPSC will implement several time-limited emergency changes to member monitoring. These include:
- Suspending functional inactivity reviews through Dec. 31, 2020
- Placing temporary hold on reviews of patient notification of extended waiting list inactivity and transplant program inactivation through Dec. 31, 2020
All updates to monitoring changes may be found in a supplement to the OPTN member evaluation plan on the OPTN compliance page.
This document serves as a quick-reference guide to all member monitoring changes implemented as a result of the pandemic. It will be regularly updated with any additional monitoring changes implemented during this event.
Site surveys will be conducted virtually at least through the end of October, 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 MPSC 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.
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 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.
- TTS COVID-19 Dashboard
- Journal of Nephrology
- COVID-19 and the kidney: what we think we know so far and what we don’t (Published: 20 July 2020)
- CDC COVID-19 website
- CMS adult elective surgery and procedure guidelines
- 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
Inactivation FAQ and sample letters
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 #3
Organ transplant organizations convened for a third town-hall style webinar to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on organ donation and transplant.
- Making Sense of the Tests
- Moving into the Future
- Impact of COVID-19 on Donor and Transplant Numbers: OPTN Update
- Emerging From Quarantine
- Surgical Prioritization in a Global Pandemic
- When Can Patients Return to Clinic/Phlebotomy
- Criteria to Remove Quarantine
- What to do with COVID-19 survivors in need of transplantation
- Donors with History of COVID-19
- Donor Testing: What will be the standard moving forward?
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