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BMJ Open ; 12(1): e055367, 2022 01 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1637282


OBJECTIVES: The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected the provisions of health services to necessary but deprioritised fields, such as transplantation. Many programmes had to ramp-down their activity, which may significantly affect transplant volumes. We aimed to pragmatically analyse measures of transplant activity and compare them by a country's income level and cumulative COVID-19 incidence (CCI). DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: From June to September 2020, we surveyed transplant physicians identified as key informants in their programmes. Of the 1267 eligible physicians, 40.5% from 71 countries participated. OUTCOME: Four pragmatic measures of transplant activity. RESULTS: Overall, 46.5% of the programmes from high-income countries anticipate being able to maintain >75% of their transplant volume compared with 31.6% of the programmes from upper-middle-income countries, and with 21.7% from low/lower-middle-income countries (p<0.001). This could be because more programmes in high-income countries reported being able to perform transplantation/s (86.8%%-58.5%-67.9%, p<0.001), maintain prepandemic deceased donor offers (31.0%%-14.2%-26.4%, p<0.01) and avoid a ramp down phase (30.9%%-19.7%-8.3%, p<0.001), respectively. In a multivariable analysis that adjusted for CCI, programmes in upper-middle-income countries (adjusted OR, aOR=0.47, 95% CI 0.27 to 0.81) and low/lower-middle-income countries (aOR 0.33, 95% CI 0.16 to 0.67) had lower odds of being able to maintain >75% of their transplant volume, compared with programmes in high-income countries. Again, this could be attributed to lower-income being associated with 3.3-3.9 higher odds of performing no transplantation/s, 66%-68% lower odds of maintaining prepandemic donor offers and 37%-76% lower odds of avoiding ramp-down of transplantation. Overall, CCI was not associated with these measures. CONCLUSIONS: The impact of the pandemic on transplantation was more in lower-income countries, independent of the COVID-19 burden. Given the lag of 1-2 years in objective data being reported by global registries, our findings may inform practice and policy. Transplant programmes in lower-income countries may need more effort to rebuild disrupted services and recuperate from the pandemic even if their COVID-19 burden was low.

COVID-19 , Humans , Income , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Tissue Donors
Clin Transplant ; 35(8): e14376, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1247159


During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been wide heterogeneity in the medical management of transplant recipients. We aimed to pragmatically capture immunosuppression practices globally following the early months of the pandemic. From June to September 2020, we surveyed 1267 physicians; 40.5% from 71 countries participated. Management decisions were made on a case-by-case basis by the majority (69.6%) of the programs. Overall, 76.8% performed ≥1 transplantation and many commented on avoiding high-risk transplantations. For induction, 26.5% were less likely to give T-cell depletion and 14.8% were more likely to give non-depleting agents. These practices varied by program-level factors more so than the COVID-19 burden. In patients with mild, moderate and severe COVID-19 symptoms 59.7%, 76.0%, and 79.5% decreased/stopped anti-metabolites, 23.2%, 45.4%, and 68.2% decreased/stopped calcineurin inhibitors, and 25.7%, 43.9%, and 57.7% decreased/stopped mTOR inhibitors, respectively. Also, 2.1%, 30.6%, and 46.0% increased steroids in patients with mild, moderate, and severe COVID-19 symptoms. For prevalent transplant recipients, some programs also reported decreasing/stopping steroids (1.8%), anti-metabolites (10.3%), calcineurin inhibitors (4.1%), and mTOR inhibitors (5.5%). Transplant programs changed immunosuppression practices but also avoided high-risk transplants and increased maintenance steroids. The long-term ramifications of these practices remain to be seen as programs face the aftermath of the pandemic.

COVID-19 , Kidney Transplantation , Humans , Immunosuppression Therapy , Immunosuppressive Agents/therapeutic use , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Transplant Recipients
Exp Clin Transplant ; 19(1): 1-7, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-708659


The tools in our armamentarium to prevent the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019, known as COVID-19, are social distancing; frequent handwashing; use of facial masks; preventing nonessential contacts/travel; nationwide lockdown; and testing, isolation, and contact tracing. However, the World Health Organization's suggestions to isolate, test, treat, and trace contacts are difficult to implement in the resourcelimited developing world. The points to weigh before performing deceased-donor organ transplant in developing countries are as follows: limitations in standard personal protective equipment (as approved by the World Health Organization), testing kits, asymptomatic infections, negative-pressure isolation rooms, intensive care unit beds, ventilator support, telehealth, availability of trained health care workers, hospital beds, the changing dynamic of this pandemic, the unwillingness of recipients, education updates, and additional burdens on the existing health care system. This pandemic has created ethical dilemmas on how to prioritize the use of our facilities, equipment, and supplies in the cash-strapped developing world. We believe that, at the present time, we should aim to resolve the COVID-19 pandemic that is affecting a large sector of the population by diverting efforts from deceased-donor organ transplant. Transplant units should conduct case-bycase evaluations when assessing the convenience of carrying out lifesaving deceased-donor organ transplant, appropriately balanced with the resources needed to address the current pandemic.

COVID-19 , Health Resources , Organ Transplantation , Tissue and Organ Procurement/ethics , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Cadaver , Developing Countries , Humans , Risk Factors