Interprovincial Organ Sharing of Hearts for High Status Recipients

Building upon the success of the interprovincial sharing of kidneys for highly sensitized patients, and guided by Canada's heart transplantation community, Canadian Blood Services is now developing the technology that supports the approved national Heart sharing policies that will streamline and propel heart allocation and transplantation in Canada in to the future.  

The Interprovincial Organ Sharing of Hearts for High-Status Recipients project (referred to as the “IPOS Heart project”) is guided by the need to improve the allocation of a very rare and precious gift. The project’s focus is to match available hearts to the most medically urgent, and difficult to match heart waitlist patients. The policies are a result of a collaborative pan-Canadian approach and provides an enhanced framework for balancing competing principles; while adding a national consistency, transparency and accountability to the heart allocation process. 

Canadian Blood Services is honoured to work with, and inspired by, the many hard-working doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians, managers, analysts and software developers from coast-to-coast who are united in working on this "Made-in-Canada" project. 
Project background  

The IPOS Heart project aims to develop the Canadian Transplant Registry (CTR) so that it can be used to allocate hearts interprovincially for sensitized (80% cPRA) and/or medically urgent (status 4) patients and to improve the tracking of the outcomes of organ sharing in this patient population.  

Building on foundational policy work by the Canadian Cardiac Transplant Network (CCTN), the Heart Transplant Advisory Committee (HTAC), led by Canadian Blood Services, developed policies outlining a consistent national approach that defines eligibility and prioritization requirements for listing and interprovincial sharing of high status hearts. Today, heart transplant programs in Canada list all transplant candidates in Canadian Blood Services' Canadian Transplant Registry (CTR).

Current project status 

We are currently in the implementation phase of the “IPOS Heart project”. Heart transplant candidates of all statuses will continue to be listed through the National Organ Waitlist (NOW). 

Virtual Crossmatch functionality was implemented on October 15, 2019. 

Currently, the requirements needed within the CTR to implement sharing are being finalized and reviewed by stakeholders. 

 An overview of the project timeline is included below:

Next steps

The next steps toward the implementation of the IPOS Heart project include the development and testing of the requirements into a solution that will be delivered to our provincial partners for a subsequent round of user testing and impact analysis.

In parallel to the development of the above mentioned solution, training materials in support of our provincial partners will be developed. Training will be delivered to our users across Canada in advance of the final implementation of the project.

We will continue to work toward an assessment of the overall impact of the project, maintaining multiple lines of communication with each of our stakeholders through direct communication and various committees.

Ultimately, we are looking to finalize implementation of the IPOS Heart project in Spring/Summer of 2021. The project team will continue to keep stakeholders updated.

For any questions or concerns, please contact the Canadian Blood Services team at listing.allocation@blood.ca.