The youngest is only 7 months old and expects a new heart. In general, men are twice as many as women, two thirds are under the age of 60. On average it takes them from 5 months to receive a liver to over two years for a kidney. This is the situation of patients on the waiting list for transplants in Italy. Photographing the situation, on the eve of the 24th National Day of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation (11 April), is the National Transplant Center (Cnt) which speaks of 8,291 registered on the waiting lists of the Transplant Information System.


72.5% (6,132) expect a kidney, 12,7% (1,076) a liver, 7,9% (670) a new heart. The numbers of those who need a lung transplant (3.8%, 320 patients) and pancreas (3%, 252 patients) are lower, while 5 are waiting for a bowel. There are also 164 patients who are waiting for a multi-organ transplant and are simultaneously enrolled in multiple lists. 15.5% of expectant patients (1,287 people) have already received an organ in the past and are awaiting re-transplantation: in almost all cases (97.5%) it is a kidney, but there are also 5 patients needing a second heart transplant and 13 another liver transplant.

Men waiting for an organ are 64% and 36% women, a prevalence that becomes more marked in the case of the heart list, in which 80% are males. The only organ for which the waiting list sees a very slight female majority (52%) is the lung. Over half of the patients (52%) are aged between 40 and 60, a third (33%) are over 60, 15% are under 40. There are 202 pediatric patients. But the transplant is also an opportunity for many elderly people: last year in Milan an 81-year-old was able to receive a new kidney.

Patients who received a transplant in 2020 waited on average less than 5 months for a liver, 11 months for the pancreas, 1 year and 1 month for heart and lungs, 2 years and 1 month for a kidney. But the average time spent on the list of those who are still waiting are longer (3 years and 4 months for the kidney), because there are many patients who are difficult to transplant.

Looking at the geographical origin of waiting patients, in absolute terms Lombardy is the region with the most residents registered on the list (1,272), but in reality Molise is the region with the highest incidence of people awaiting transplant in relation to the number of residents, with an index of 23.6 patients per 100 thousand inhabitants, almost double the national average which sees 13.7 patients on the list per 100 thousand inhabitants. Followed by Puglia (17.8 / 100 thousand), Liguria (17.2), Lazio (15.8) and Sicily (15.7). The regions with a lower prevalence of patients on the list are Trentino Alto Adige (6.8 people on the list per 100 thousand inhabitants), Sardinia (9.8), Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia (11.3).

The Italian waiting lists also include 38 patients residing abroad, coming from EU countries with which Italy has bilateral agreements that include the exchange of organs. The majority comes from the Balkan Peninsula: 10 are Serbian citizens, 7 Bosnians and 6 Croats.

Renal polycystosis and chronic glomerulonephritis are the pathologies that most frequently lead to transplantation: together they make up the diagnosis of almost a third of people who need a kidney. As for the liver, however, the indication for transplantation comes in the majority for hepatocarcinoma associated with cirrhosis, while among those expecting a heart, dilated cardiomyopathies on an ischemic or idiopathic basis prevail. Finally, cystic fibrosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis are the two most common diseases among patients on the list for a lung while about half of those waiting for a pancreas suffer from type 1 diabetes mellitus.

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