Solidarity does not expire. Maria had 97 years, 6 months and 29 days and his is not only the breaking latest news of a great gesture of generosity: it is the story of oldest organ donor ever registered in Italy. She and her family agreed: upon her death, her organs would be donated to save another life and so it was with his liver.
The increase in the average age of donors in Italy
In these years theaverage age of donors in Italy it is gradually rising, thanks also to the increase inlife expectation but also to the increasingly advanced techniques for using old organs. Suffice it to say that in 2021 the average age of the donors used was 60.4 years and in 2002 it was “only” of 52 years old. According to data collected by the National Transplant Center, 46.8% of organ harvesting in 2021 was carried out on people who died over the age of 65, and 13.6% of donors were over 80 years old. If Maria’s gesture was exemplary, someone before her had done the same. In 2019 in Florence, in 2018 in Grosseto, in 2008 in Ravenna and in 2003 in Savona. But never before had a liver been used by a patient as long-lived as the woman originally from Fabriano.
“It is important to inform older people”
Doctor Massimo Cardillodirector of the National Transplant Center, commented on the story as follows: “The average age of donors is rising due to the increase in life expectancy but above all thanks to an increasing capacity of transplant network to successfully use older organs, while maintaining very high quality and safety standards even in this type of transplant. In particular, the liver can maintain a optimal functionality even at a very old age and this allows withdrawals even from people over ninety years old. In this case the credit goes to the Marche Regional Transplant Center and to the coordination of the Fabriano hospital for completing the donation, naturally thanks to the consent of the donor’s family members, whom we thank for their generosity ”. The director then concluded by highlighting the widespread misinformation on the possibility of organ donation by the elderly: “Unfortunately, older people are often mistakenly convinced that they cannot donate organs for personal reasons. The case of Fabriano is the testimony that everyone can give the consent organ donation, regardless of your age: it is important properly inform older peoplebecause even their yes can save the life of a patient waiting for a transplant ”.