Another year of records for Spain in respect of organ donations and transplants as the world leader for 25 consecutive years has improved on its figures once again with 43.4 donors per million population (a total of 2,018 donors) and 4,818 transplants, one of whom was a 94-year-old liver donor, another record by age.

The waiting list has also been reduced for almost all organs and the figure of 5,673 patients in 2015 has been reduced to 5,477, a fall of 196. In total, last year, there were 2,994 kidney transplants, 1,159 liver patients, 281 heart, 307 pulmonary, 73 pancreas and four intestinal.

The figures were released last Thursday on the occasion of the visit by the Minister of Health, Social Services and Equality, Dolors Montserrat, to the headquarters of the National Transplant Organization (ONT), where she was met by Chief Executive Rafael Matesanz,  a position that he will relinquish next month after a period of 28 years.

She said that all regions have surpassed the figure of 35 donors per million of population, but three have exceeded the 60 donors per million population (Cantabria, Basque Country and Navarra) and two 50 donors (Murcia and La Rioja).

Bone marrow donors reached 281,969 last year. When the National Marrow Plan came into force to coordinate activities throughout the regions in 2012, the figure was 107,003. This particular transplant can cure diseases that especially affect the blood, such as leukaemia lymphomas and myelomas. Leukaemia is the most common of all childhood cancers.

In 2016 the number of new bone marrow donors was doubled. A total of 74,397 were registered, giving an average of 6,200 new monthly donors, when this figure stood at 3,134 in 2015. Five years ago, new entrants per month did not exceed 600.

Unfortunately there has been a decline in the number of young donors. At the beginning of this century, 19.8% of donors were aged between 15 and 29 years, the current percentage is 4.5%. In the case of adults aged between 30 and 44, the percentage has dropped from 16.9% to 9.8%.

More than half of all donors (54.6%) are over 60 years, close to one third exceed 70 and almost 10% are over 80, with the highest ever recorded being a liver donor aged 94 years.