Newswise – The number of organ donations and organ transplants increases dramatically at large motorcycle rallies, according to a newly released analysis conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital.
The research, which appears November 28 in JAMA internal medicineshows that in the areas where the seven largest motorcycle gatherings took place in the United States between 2005 and 2021, there were 21% more organ donors per day, on average, and 26% more transplant recipients per day, on average, over those years. events, compared to the days just before and after the gatherings.
Large-scale motorcycle rallies attract hundreds of thousands of attendees, and previous studies have shown that these events are associated with an increase in traumatic injuries and deaths from motor vehicle accidents.
For the new study, the researchers wanted to know whether these events corresponded to increases in organ donations and transplants in the regions where they were taking place.
The researchers asked several questions, including whether organ donations have increased with trauma-related deaths. They did it. Also, was there a difference in the quality of the organs donated due to clinical or demographic differences among the donors at the gatherings. There were none.
“The spikes in organ donations and transplants we found in our analysis are concerning, if not entirely surprising, because they signal a systemic failure to prevent preventable deaths, which is a tragedy. “, said the first author of the study, David Cron, clinical researcher HMS. in surgery at Mass General. “There is a clear need for better security protocols around such events.”
“At the same time, it is important that transplant communities in places where these events are taking place are aware of the potential for increased organ donors during these times. Organ donation is often called the gift of life, and we need to make sure we don’t waste it and that we can turn any of these tragic deaths into a chance to potentially save other lives.” added Cron, who is also a researcher at the Center for Surgery and Public Health at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he is part of a group interested in understanding how political decisions and other factors, both within and outside outside the health care system, affect efforts to improve the supply of organs for transplantation.
Using data from the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients for deceased organ donors aged 16 and over involved in a motor vehicle accident and organ recipients of these donors from March 2005 to September 2021, the researchers estimated changes in the incidence of donations and transplants in regions that hosted rallies.
The researchers analyzed the records of 10,798 organ donors and 35,329 recipients in areas where the featured motorcycle rallies take place. During the days when the rallies took place, there were 406 organ donors and 1,400 transplant recipients in the regions close to the events. In the four weeks before and after the rallies, there were 2,332 organ donors and 7,714 transplant recipients at these locations.
They compared the dates of the rallies with the days before and after the rallies. To rule out the influence of other factors unrelated to cycle rallies, the researchers also compared numbers from rally locations with other regions not affected by rallies and then looked at trends in rally regions at different times. other times of the year.
They also compared the demographic and clinical characteristics of donors and the quality of donated organs during rally and non-rally periods. They found no significant difference.
Key characteristics of transplant recipients, such as how long they waited for an organ and the severity of their disease at the time of transplant, were also similar whether there was a rally or not. This finding, the researchers noted, indicates that the increase in the number of organs available has not been sufficient to address the critical shortage of donor organs the country faces, even for a brief period.
Cron also noted that the available data was not detailed enough to say whether the donors perished in motorcycle crashes or in passenger vehicles.
Bike rallies are typically large, crowded events that take place in rural areas or small towns with traffic infrastructure aimed at much smaller populations and much less traffic, the researchers noted. This means that to increase the overall safety of all motorists and pedestrians, event organizers must pay particular attention to overall traffic management in addition to encouraging the wearing of helmets and the safe operation of motorcycles.
The seven motorcycle rallies in the study each attract more than 200,000 visitors over several days. Daytona Bike Week in Florida and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota are 10-day events that each attract 500,000 visitors.
For the cities hosting the rallies and the people who attend, the economic and personal benefits are many. However, understanding all the possible consequences of an event can help organizers and attendees plan better to minimize the risk of unwanted “side effects”, the researchers said.
The article is the latest in a series by lead author Anupam Jena, Joseph P. Newhouse Professor of Health Care Policy at HMS’s Blavatnik Institute, examining the often unforeseen impacts on the health system of events large-scale audiences. Some of his previous work in this area includes studies that found that firearm injuries decrease nationwide during NRA conventions, that high-risk patients with certain acute heart conditions are more likely to survive than other similar patients if admitted to hospital during national cardiology meetings, and people who suffer heart attacks or cardiac arrests near a major running marathon are more likely to die within one month due to transport delays to nearby hospitals.
“Nothing in life is ever completely safe. Our priority should be to make risky events like motorcycle rallies as safe as possible,” Jena said. “But understanding the impact of these events on the health of individuals and the health systems we all rely on so that we can give attendees, event organizers and decision-makers the context and data they need to make smart choices.”
Other authors included Charles Bray and Christopher Worsham of HMS and Joel Adler of Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin.
This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
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