How Spain Became a Leader In Transplant Organ Donation Interview with:

Beatriz Domínguez-Gil, MD, PhD Organización Nacional de Trasplantes Madrid Spain

Dr. Beatriz Domínguez-Gil

Beatriz Domínguez-Gil, MD, PhD
Organización Nacional de Trasplantes
Madrid Spain What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Organ shortage remains the most important barrier to the development of transplantation therapies. It leads to deaths on the waiting list, poor quality of life, increased costs to healthcare systems and emerging unethical practices as organ trafficking, mostly in the form of transplant tourism. Shortage of organs to meet the transplantation needs is a universal problem – also in Spain.

The potential of donation from the deceased is decreasing or expected to decrease in most developed countries, which makes it imperative to conceive new ways of increasing organ availibility.

In 2008, ONT conceived the 40 donors pmp plan, which includes the three strategies that are described in the paper:

–          The identification of possible donors outside of the ICU to pose the option of intensive care to facilitate organ donation.

–          The promotion of the expanded and non-standard risk donor.

–          The development of donation after circulatory death

The three strategies have made the country not only reach, but even surpass the objective of 40 donors pmp (43,4 in 2016). What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Confronting organ shortage requires an appropriate organization around the process of deceased organ donation and continuous adaptation to the change. The latest strategies implemented in Spain may inspire other countries to conceive new ways of increasing the availability of organs from the deceased. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: The three strategies mentioned above should be the focus of future research. Importantly, we need to better understand how to better use organs from expanded criteria donors and the limits of transplantation. How to make the best of organs available from DCD donors is also a priority, particularly in the case of livers. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Donation should be part of every end-of-life care plans, regardless of the circumstances of death of patients. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Matesanz R, Domínguez-Gil B, Coll E, Mahíllo B & Marazuela R. How Spain Reached 40 Deceased Organ Donors per Million Population. Am J Transplant; doi: 10.1111/ajt.14104.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on

[wysija_form id=”5″]



Last Updated on January 9, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD