Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation

: 2010  |  Volume : 21  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 1179--1187

Organ transplantation in Saudi Arabia


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. Organ transplantation in Saudi Arabia.Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 2010;21:1179-1187

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. Organ transplantation in Saudi Arabia. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl [serial online] 2010 [cited 2021 Oct 18 ];21:1179-1187
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By the end of year 2009, a total of 4072 living donor and 2071 deceased donor renal trans­plantations have been performed inside the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is worth mentioning that the deceased organ transplantation program in the Kingdom received a big boost with the incep­tion of the National Kidney Foundation in 1984 and further in 1993 when this organization was upgraded and renamed as Saudi Center for Organ Transplantation (SCOT).

A total of 383 kidneys have been transplanted during year 2009, of which 272 were from living related donors and 111 from deceased donors. Among the 111 deceased kidneys, 18 were used for pediatric recipients and 8 were given for the urgent condition recipients.

Liver transplantation program in the Kingdom was started in the year 1990. By the end of 2009, a total of 828 liver transplants have been performed, 510 from deceased donors and 318 from living donors (the later includes pediatric liver transplant operations performed at Riyadh Armed Forces Hospital and the adult transplant operations performed at King Faisal Specialist Hospital-Riyadh and King Fahd National Guard Hospital-Riyadh). In this year, there were 58 liver trans­plants from living donors and 51 from deceased donors.

Between 1986 and 2009, there were 168 whole hearts and 497 hearts as source of valves trans­plantations inside the Kingdom. During this year alone, 15 whole hearts and 29 hearts as sources for valves have been transplanted.

Although more than 19,000 corneal transplants have been performed in the Kingdom during the period 1983-2009, the number of transplants from locally harvested corneas is dismally low (608 corneas).

A total of 15 pancreases were transplanted since the inception of the program in 1990. In this year 3 pancreas transplant operations were performed of which one is a combined kidney-pancreas operation.

Lung transplantation activity (started in 1990), has a total of 32 lungs transplanted to 24 recipients as single or bilateral.

As for organ sharing program with Kuwait, Spain, Qatar and the Kingdom of Bahrain, SCOT benefited from 45 kidneys, 71 livers, 7 whole hearts, 40 hearts for valves and 4 lungs since the program took place with these countries.

 Renal Transplantation - 2009

During this year, 383 kidneys were being transplanted inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 272 from living related donors and 111 from deceased donors. The following table shows the per­formance of the national transplant centers during the year 2009.



9 kidneys were harvested but not transplanted this year for medical or technical reasonsCold Ischemic Time (CIT) for the locally harvested deceased kidneys was (14 ± 18.5 hours) ranging between 3 and 39 hours. On the other hand, matching sex (male to male or female to female) renal transplantation from deceased donors was done in 59% of the cases.

Age distribution for recipients and donors of the deceased kidneys are indicated in the following table.


According to the data of renal failure patients in the Kingdom, 245 patients underwent living renal transplant operations outside the kingdom during the year 2009.

 Liver Transplant - 2009

The number of brain death cases consented for liver donation this year was 81. Harvesting was taken place in 56 cases, however only 51 livers were transplanted; 20 at King Fahd National Guard Hospital and 29 at King Faisal Specialist Hospital-Riyadh and 2 at King Fahd Specialist Hospital-Dammam. Livers were not used in 30 cases for following reasons:

1. Livers were consented but not harvested in (17) cases:

Hemodynamic instability of donor (9) casesElevated liver enzymes (3) casesDonor-Recipient incompatibility (1) caseHypernatremia (1) caseHigh inotropes (1) caseUnfit (1) caseCulture Result Gram positive cocci (1) case

2. Livers were rejected by transplant centers during harvesting, on (5) macroscopic evaluation, in (3) case because of sepsis.

3. Livers were rejected by transplant centers after harvesting in (5) cases:

Fatty livers (3) casesShistosomiasis (1) casesTechnical - Liquid perfusion leaked from bag (1) case

Living Related Liver Transplantation - 2009

58 cases of living related liver transplantation were done during this year, 23 at Riyadh Armed Forces Hospital, 17 at King Faisal Specialist Hospital-Riyadh and 18 at King Abdul Aziz Medical City (Fahd National Guard Hospital)-Riyadh. The details of this were shown in the tables below:




 Heart Transplantation - 2009

Seventy seven (77) consents were obtained for heart donation this year (93.9% of total consented cases). (15) Whole hearts were harvested and transplanted at King Faisal Specialist Hospital-Riyadh, in addition to (29) hearts harvested to be used as sources for valves; all were given to King Faisal Specialist Hospital-Riyadh.

Thirty three (33) hearts were consented for donation but not harvested for the following reasons: Unfit donor for medical reasons (sepsis, donor history) (9) cases, technical reasons (transportation and logistics) (3) cases, sudden cardiac arrest of donor before harvesting (6) cases, hepatitis serology positive (2) cases, no suitable recipient (3) cases, old age of donor (4) cases and not offered hearts (time limitation) (6) cases.


 Lungs Transplantation - 2009

Four (4) lung transplant operation were done this year. The following table shows the lung transplantation activity for the last years.


 Pancreas Transplantation - 2009

Three (3) pancreas transplant operations were performed this year. Two at King Fahd Specialist Hospital, Dammam (one was combined kidney - pancreas), while the third was done at the Armed Forces Hospital-Riyadh as a single pancreas transplant operation.

It is also worth mentioning that the first pancreas operation in the Kingdom was done in 1990, followed by two combined pancreas-kidney operations in 1991. In addition to another combined operation in 1992 at Al-Shati Hospital done in collaboration with King Abdulaziz Hospital- Jeddah

 Cornea Transplantation - 2009

Corneal donation program (as a tissue) is currently harvested along with multi-organ retrieval from brain death donors.

In the year 2009, consent for corneal donation was obtained in 30 brain death cases (36.6%) of total consented cases. (23) Cases were harvested while the remaining (7) were not harvested for the following reasons: hepatitis serology (HCV, HBsAg, HBcAb) (5) cases, donor age not suitable (1) case and pseudomonas infection (1) case.