Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation 
May 2020 - Newsletter Digest
Now more than ever, we recognize the need to reflect on and acknowledge our collective efforts. This monthly digest shares highlights from our collaborative work with the organ and tissue donation and transplantation community. Please share with your colleagues. Send contributions, comments and suggestions to  

Webinar Series: Psychological First Aid, Grief and Loss, and Moral Distress in response to COVID-19

A series of webinars focusing on psychological first aid, grief and loss, and moral distress, within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, were developed with donation and transplantation professionals in mind. In case you were unable to attend or would like to share with colleagues, you can access recordings for Part 1 & 2 here

Register for Part 3: MORAL DISTRESS DURING COVID-19  (Rescheduled) June 2, 2020 | 4:00 pm ET

Responding to COVID-19 

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, administrative and medical leads from across OTDT in Canada continue to meet regularly. A number of resources are available and projects underway to help to inform the national response to COVID-19.  


Update on interprovincial organ sharing programs 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, transplants continued to be facilitated through the Highly Sensitized Patient (HSP) Program with three transplants in April and five in May. Current data for HSP is updated monthly and available here

The Kidney Paired Donation (KPD) Program, which paused on March 16 in light of COVID-19, began its phased restart on May 20. The KPD team will work with provincial programs to identify opportunities for innovation and adapt to the new environment. Current data related to KPD can be found here or contact 

The next planned release of the Canadian Transplant Registry (CTR version 4.8.2) is tentatively scheduled for July 16, 2020. Release notes will be distributed to Users and posted online here.  

The Interprovincial Organ Sharing of Hearts for High-Status Recipients (IPOS Heartproject aims to develop the CTR to allocate hearts interprovincially for sensitized (80% cPRA) and/or medically urgent (status 4) patients. Learn more about this important work here. 

National data reporting

The 2018 national data reports for the interprovincial organ sharing programs are now available: The 2018 Canadian Eye and Tissue Data Committee report is also now available.

Her Last ProjectHer Last Project to launch on CBC this summer

We're excited to announce the TV/digital broadcast of Her Last Project  on CBC beginning August 1, 2020. Visit for news and keep an eye on the CBC Gem app and CBC Docs POV for updates and access. 

Deceased donor management: clinical tools and resources

 Links to deceased donor management guidelines and complementary resources are available here. A number of knowledge translation tools (brochures, evidence bulletins, clinical checklists, and more) have also been created. It is our hope that these tools will help to optimize use of the scarce resource that donated organs continue to be.

Recent publications

Variability in deceased donor care in Canada: a report of the Canada-DONATE cohort study.
D'Aragon F, Lamontagne F, Cook D, Dhanani S, Keenan S, Chassé M, English S, Burns KEA, Frenette AJ, Ball I, Boyd JG, Masse MH, Breau R, Akhtar A, Kramer A, Rochwerg B, Lauzier F, Kutsogiannis DJ, Ibrahim Q, Hand L, Zhou Q, Meade MO; Canadian Critical Care Trials Group and the Canadian Donation and Transplant Research Program.Can J Anaesth. 2020 May 8. doi: 10.1007/s12630-020-01692-7. 

Deceased organ donation in Nova Scotia: Presumed consent and system transformation  
Kristina Krmpotic, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Cynthia Isenor, RN, MScN, Stephen Beed, MD, FRCPC.  First Published April 23, 2020 Research Article

Helping bring Canada’s 17 eye and tissue banks together  

One area of particular focus for Canadian Blood Services has been working with Canada’s eye community to develop national guidance to improve access to cornea transplants in Canada... Read more  

National clinical trial: COVID-19 convalescent plasma 

Canadian Blood Services is part of a national clinical trial to test the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 convalescent plasma as a possible treatment to help patients with the virus... Learn more

In other news...

The Morally Complex Mix of Euthanasia and Organ Donation, Canada’s recent experience with terminally ill patients is instructive, Scientific American 322, 5, 23 (May 2020)  doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0520-23

On May 20, 2020, England's opt-out legislation, known as Max and Keira's Law, came into effect.  It has been estimated that the law change will lead to an additional 700 transplants each year by 2023. Read more
Since his heart transplant, Terry has walked his daughter down the aisle, seen his son graduate university, held his first grandchild, renewed his wedding vows and participated in the Canadian Transplant Games. Help spread the word about the powerful impact of organ and tissue donation. Download our social media toolkit 
Your feedback is welcome, please send questions and comments to

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