A test on a pig's lung that is being inflated at a lab run by the University Health Network in Toronto in May. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

Canada’s organ transplant system struggling to keep up

New data shows the number of organ transplants in Canada has increased by 33 per cent over the last decade, but wait times have also increased, and the system is struggling to keep up.

A Canadian Institute for Health Information study shows that 2,782 organ transplant procedures were performed in 2018, but at the end of the year 4,350 Canadians were still waiting for a transplant.

Another 223 patients died awaiting a needed organ.

The program lead for CIHI’s Canadian Organ Replacement Register says the statistics show that Canada is struggling to keep pace with the needs of transplant patients.

As more people opt for organ transplants, increased demand is leading to longer waiting times for patients in need, according to a report released Thursday. (Dave Laughlin/CBC)

Michael Terner says even as organ donations have increased, so have the number of people who need transplants and that number far exceeds the number of available organs.

“Though our transplant procedures are going up, there’s also new factors that are contributing to more people needing organs,” Terner told Adina Bresge of The Canadian Press.

Those factors include improvements in transplant technology,as well as a population that is living longer and opting for transplants.

Terner says the increased demand leads to longer waiting times for patients in need.

Out of the almost 3,000 transplant procedures performed last year, 1,700 were for kidneys.

There were 533 liver transplants.

With files from CBC, CP, Global

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