Health Canada / Santé Canada Canada
Skip all menus (access key: 2) Skip first menu (access key: 1)
Français
Become a Donor
Contact Us
Facts & FAQ's
Help
My Religion
Search
Personal Stories
Canada Site
Links & Resources
Canada's National Organ and Tissue Information Site
Health Canada Home
Become a Donor
Facts and FAQ's
My Religion
Personal Stories 
Links and Resources
Glossary
Mailbox 
Make the Decision - Share Your Life

 

 

 

Facts and FAQs

Did you know that fewer than 15 Canadians in a million are organ donors?

It's true.

Canada's organ donation rate ranks in the bottom half of countries in the western world where transplants are performed. More than 3,500 Canadians are waiting for an organ transplant, and every year nearly 150 of them die, waiting.

We have some of the best transplant technology in the world, some of the most highly skilled surgeons, some of the most prestigious transplant hospitals, but there are never enough organs available to save enough lives.

Too few Canadians decide to become potential organ and tissue donors. Too few Canadians talk about that decision with their families.

To help you make an enlightened decision, Canada's National Organ & Tissue Information Site dispels common myths and presents clear-cut information about donation and transplantation.

The Statistics below give you the hard facts about organ and tissue donation in Canada.

The FAQ Section section answers the general questions about organ and tissue donation that we all have.

Read about Canadian Transplant Firsts.


Statistics

We know that in Canada:

  • Organ and tissue donation rules differ from province to province. Click here to find out more about organ and tissue donation where you live.
  • A total of 28 hospitals throughout the country perform organ transplants.
  • Nearly all types of transplant operations can be performed in at least one location in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia.
  • Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia are more limited in the ability to perform all transplant procedures.
  • In 2000, 1,882 organ transplants were done in Canada (Canadian Association For Transplantation) -- 261 more than in 1998 (Canadian Institute for Health Information).
  • Since 1981 there have been more than 2,000 heart transplants done in this country.
  • In 2000, 2,602 corneal transplants were done in Canada.
  • By far, the most common organs transplanted are kidneys, nearly two-thirds of all transplants :

Organ

# Transplanted in 2000 (CAT)

# Transplanted in 1998 (CIHI)

Kidney

1112 (724 cadaveric and 388 living)

991 (665 cadaveric and 336 living)

Liver

408

342

Heart

172

154

Lung

120 lung and 4 heart/lung

75 lung and 7 heart/lung

Pancreas

18 pancreas and 47 pancreas/kidney

9 pancreas and 33 pancreas/kidney

Bowel

1

2

Total

1882

1613


Annual Number of Donors in Canada (1992 - 1998)

Annual Number of Donors in Canada

There are never enough donors

  • Nearly 3,700 Canadians are waiting for organ transplants that could enhance, even save their lives.
  • In 2000, 147 patients on transplant waiting lists died when no organ became available.
  • As of April 2001 there were 3,269 Canadians waiting for a corneal transplant.

What Canadians think about organ and tissue donation

  • 78% of Canadians believe there is a great need for organs.
  • 71% are willing to donate any organs needed for transplantation.
  • Women are more willing to become organ donors than men.
  • Some regions of Canada are more willing to donate than others:

 

Any organs needed

Only certain organs

Prefer not to donate

Québec

76%

6%

15%

BC

75%

7%

14%

Prairies

69%

11%

15%

Ontario

68%

12%

14%

Atlantic

66%

14%

16%

As house hold income increases, so does the willingness to donate any needed organs:

Household income

Willingness to donate, %

< $ 30,000

67

$30,000 to $ 60,000

72

> $ 60,000

74


These groups are more willing than their comparison groups to donate any organs needed for transplantation:

  • women
  • the middle-aged
  • those with at least a high school diploma
  • those earning a higher income

The common factor shared by these groups is that they are more likely to have discussed organ donation with family members.

Donors

Donor demographic information

  • The average age of a cadaveric donor is between 34-48 years old.

Donor medical information

  • There are two categories of human donors: cadaveric and living.
  • Cadaveric donors constitute the most common group for organs and tissues.
  • The primary category of cadaveric organ donor is the brain-dead donor.
  • Only two to three per cent of all deaths are as a result of brain death.
  • 79.1% of cadaveric donors are multi-organ donors.
  • Organ donors typically die from a stroke, severe head trauma or other oxygen-depriving brain injury.
  • The most common cause of death for organ donors (48%) is an intracranial event such as a cerebral bleed.
  • Head traumas such as those from motor vehicle accidents or gunshot wounds account for approximately 33% of donor deaths.
  • Someone who was killed at the scene of an accident cannot be an organ donor because the vital organs have stopped functioning, and cell damage begins to occur immediately but he/she can still be a tissue donor. Tissues such as eyes, heart valves, veins, bones and skin can be donated within a certain time limit after death.

Recipients

Recipient demographic information

  • Most common recipient is a middle-aged caucasian male
  • 87% of recipients are 18-64 years old
  • 65% of all recipients are male
  • 84% of heart transplant recipients are men

Recipient medical information

One-year survival rates:

Transplanted organ

Survival rate

Living-related kidney

98%

Cadaveric kidney

95%

Liver

90%

Heart

85%

Pancreas

79%

Small intestine

70%

Multi-organ

70%

Lung

65%

Heart-lung

65%

 

Last Updated: 2002-07-16

Top

Important Notices