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Efficiency of human organ transport in China rises

By He Qi in Shanghai | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-11-28 16:28

Video: Donated human organs are transported from Qingdao, East China’s Shandong province to Shanghai on flight MU5518 on Nov 26, 2019. [Provided to China Daily]

The average transport time for human organs in China has been shortened by up to one and a half hours since the country established green channels for this purpose three years ago, the National Health Commission said during a news conference in Shanghai on Tuesday.

The improved transportation efficiency has contributed to an increase in organ sharing and utilization rate by 8 percent and 6.7 percent respectively, the commission said.

According to officials, the country completed more than 26,000 organ donation cases from 2010 to Oct 31 this year. In the first half of 2019, about 2,757 organ donations cases were completed following the death of donors and 7,186 organs were donated, respectively up by 9.5 percent and 3.5 percent compared with the same period in 2018.

One major challenge faced in organ transplants is the time required for transportation. Donated organs need to be transplanted as quickly as possible to optimize functionality. A liver must be transplanted within 12 hours of donation, while a heart transplant must be done within 8 hours.

To shorten transportation time and reduce the impact that transportation has on the quality of the organ, China announced in 2016 that it would establish green channels for the transportation of human donor organs.

The Civil Aviation Administration has since opened 1,932 green channels for the transportation of human donor organs. According to the commission, 1,984 donated organs were transported last year.

In addition, 16 airlines have joined the initiative. China Eastern Airlines was ranked first in this aspect, transporting 891 donated organs last year. This year, the airline provided this service 770 times between January and October.

Together with China Southern Airlines, Air China and Shanghai Airlines, the four airlines completed 87 percent of the air transportation for donated organs.

The top three transported organs are liver, kidney, and heart. Other frequently transported organs include lungs and corneas.

China has been ranked first in Asia and second in the world in terms of the number of organ donations and transplantations every year. While the country has about 1.5 million patients who suffer from organ failure every year, with 300,000 suited for organ transplantation, only a little more than 10,000 people receive organ transplantation treatment, according to statistics from the National Health Commission.

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