x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

National database for organ donors will save hundreds of lives, says UAE expert

A national database storing the details of people who have stated their desire to be a donors is desperately needed, said Dr Mohamed Hassan.

ABU DHABI // A medical expert yesterday called for a national register of organ donors that could save hundreds of lives and reduce demand for kidney dialysis.

A database of those who want to be donors is desperately needed, said Dr Mohamed Hassan, chief of nephrology at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.

The UAE has among the world’s highest rates of diabetes and hypertension – major causes of kidney failure – and the shortage of donors is only likely to get worse.

The law states only transplants from a living relative are allowed.

But a draft law before the Executive Council would allow organ donations from patients declared brain-dead that have indicated on their Emirates ID they wished to be  a donor.

“Renal dialysis should ideally be a holding measure only,” said Dr Hassan. “It should bridge the gap between a person’s kidneys failing and new organs being transplanted.”

Studies have shown long-term dialysis is associated with early death and medical problems such as fluid imbalances, muscle cramps, bone diseases and infection. It also severely restricts quality of life, as patients need to always be close to a dialysis centre.