WEDNESDAY, May 13, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Since the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a reduction in deceased donor transplantations in France and the United States, according to a research letter published online May 11 in The Lancet.

Alexandre Loupy, M.D., Ph.D., from Paris University and the Paris Translational Research Center for Organ Transplantation, and colleagues quantified the contemporary effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on organ donation and transplantation in France and the United States.

The researchers observed a strong temporal association between the increase in COVID-19 infections and a decrease in overall solid-organ transplant procedures; this observation was seen in France and confirmed in the United States. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the overall reduction in deceased donor transplantations was 90.6 and 51.1 percent in France and the United States, respectively; the decrease was mainly due to kidney transplantation, with substantial effects also seen for heart, lung, and liver transplants. A significant reduction in transplantation rates was also observed in regions where COVID-19 cases were low, suggesting an effect beyond local infection prevalence.

“As COVID-19 spreads rapidly across Europe to North America, South America, and other continents, health care providers and leaders of medical institutions will make difficult decisions about how best to deploy limited medical resources,” the authors write. “These choices could be especially devastating for the thousands of patients in need of an organ transplant.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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