Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 15(2) April 2012 : 84-84.doi:10.12927/hcq.2012.22908

Treatment of End-Stage Organ Failure in Canada

  • Although the latest organ donation rates (2010) are above levels from 2001, the need for organs still outpaces the supply—meaning the gap between donations and the need for transplants is growing.
  • During 2010, 229 patients died while waiting for organs.
  • The end of 2010 saw:
    • 3,362 patients waiting for a kidney,
    • 501 for a liver,
    • 135 for a heart,
    • 310 for a lung, and
    • 98 for a pancreas.
  • Both living and deceased donor rates have stagnated since 2006.
    • The living donor rate in 2010 was 16.3 per million Canadians, compared with 17.0 in 2006.
    • The deceased donor rate in 2010 was 13.6 donors per million Canadians; it was 14.0 in 2006.
  • The number of organ donors and the number of transplants performed in Canada has remained virtually unchanged since 2006.
    • In 2010, 557 living organ donors and 465 deceased organ donors contributed to 2,103 solid organ transplants.
    • In 2006, 556 living donors and 461 deceased donors contributed to 2,074 transplant procedures.
  • The year 2010 saw more than 5,600 patients newly diagnosed with kidney failure, more than double the number diagnosed in 1991 (2,600).
  • More than one in three people with kidney failure have diabetes.
  • In 2010, 39,352 Canadians were living with kidney failure.
    • 16,164 (41%) were living with functioning kidney transplants.
    • 23,188 (59%) were on dialysis.
  • For those Canadians who received a kidney from a deceased donor, the median time spent on dialysis was 3.7 years. Those patients with an available living donor were on dialysis for just less than 1.5 years.
  • CIHI's estimated cost for hemodialysis treatment is approximately $60,000 per patient per year.
    • The one-time cost for a kidney transplant is approximately $23,000, plus $6,000 per year for medication necessary to maintain the transplant.
    • Over a five-year period, a transplant is therefore approximately $250,000 cheaper per patient than dialysis while improving quality of life.


Canadian Organ Replacement Register Annual Report: Treatment of End-Stage Organ Failure in Canada, 2001 to 2010. Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). <>.


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