25,000 patients waiting for kidneys nationwide

About 1,000 new kidney patients are recorded each year. (Bernama pic)

JOHOR BAHRU: There are 25,000 patients with chronic renal failure in the country who are waiting to undergo kidney transplants, with some having waited for more than five years.

National Transplant Resource Centre (Organ and Tissue Procurement) head coordinator Dr Omar Sulaiman said the number was recorded as of August this year based on the number of patients currently undergoing dialysis treatment.

“In a year, only 30 to 40 patients are able to find suitable donors and undergo kidney transplants, but we also recorded about 1,000 new kidney patients each year,” he said after attending the opening ceremony of the Organ Donation Awareness Week at Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA), near here, today.

Also present were Johor Health Department deputy director (Medicine/Hospital) Dr Izam Suleiman and HSA National Transplant Resource Centre coordinator Dr Faizal Zuhri Aziz.

Meanwhile, Omar said 18 liver patients and six critical heart patients were also waiting for suitable donors and that the numbers were relatively low as many patients suffering from such (heart and liver) conditions had died before they could find a matching donor.

Omar said, right now, less than 1% of the Malaysian population had registered as organ donors as many still had a wrong and inaccurate perception of it.

“It doesn’t always mean that registered organ donors will have to donate their organs after death. This is because the hospital needs to get permission from their next of kin and examine the pledged organs before any transplant can take place.

“Organ donors could still donate part of their liver or a kidney when they are still alive, but organs like the heart and lungs can only be donated after the donors die,” he added.

As of August this year, a total of 424,143 organ donors were registered nationwide and 71,693 of them were from Johor.