Background: The number of patients awaiting organ transplantation continues to exceed the number of available organs.
Objectives: To document changes in the demographic characteristics of brain-dead, heart-beating organ donors over the past 10 years which may impact on organ utilization.
Methods: Data were extracted from the Israel Transplant Registry and the Donor Action database for the 10 year period 2004–2013, inclusive.
Results: The median age of the donors increased from 44 (range 3–73 years) to 53.5 years (range 1–79 years) (P < 0.001). There was a significant increase in the median age of donors of kidney (33 to 51 years, P < 0.001), liver (41 to 53 years, P < 0.001) and lung (40 to 49.5 years, P < 0.001). The number of donors dying from trauma decreased (34.5% to 20%, P < 0.001), while those with anoxic brain damage increased (14.5% to 25%, P < 0.001). The percent of male donors decreased over the study period, from 63% to 53%. An increase was noted in the mean number of organs transplanted per donor, from 3.29 to 3.82 per donor, due mainly to a significant increase in the utilization of lungs (31.5% to 51.3%, P < 0.001) and livers (76.3% to 82.4%, P < 0.001) while heart utilization decreased significantly since 2006 (40.9% to 17.5%, P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Trends in the heart-beating, brain-dead organ donor pool in Israel over the past 10 years reveal significant changes in demographic characteristics which in the future will impact on the number of organs available for transplantation.