Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Solid Organ Transplantation During 2020 in Poland Compared with Countries in Western Europe, Asia, and North America: A Review

Med Sci Monit. 2021 Sep 4:27:e932025. doi: 10.12659/MSM.932025.


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, due to infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which began in March 2020, affected organ donor acceptance and rates of heart, lung, kidney, and liver transplants worldwide. According to data reported to POLTRANSPLANT, the number of solid organ transplants decreased by over 35% and the number of patients enlisted de novo for organ transplantation was reduced to 70% of its pre-COVID-19 volume in Poland. Most transplant centers in Western Europe and the USA have also drastically reduced their activity when compared to the pre-pandemic era. Areas of high SARS-CoV-2 infection incidence, like Italy, Spain, and France, were most affected. Significant decreases in organ donation and number of transplant procedures and increase in waitlist deaths have been noted due to overload of the healthcare system as well as uncertainty of donor SARS-CoV-2 status. Intensive care unit bed shortages and less intensive care resources available for donor management are major factors limiting access to organ procurement. The impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on transplant activities was not so adverse in Asia, as a result of a strategy based on experience gained during a previous SARS pandemic. This review aims to compare the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on solid organ transplantation during 2020 in Poland with countries in Western Europe, North America, and Asia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • Donor Selection / organization & administration*
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • North America
  • Organ Transplantation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pandemics*
  • Poland