A Factsheet on Organ Transplantation
Christian Life Resources, June 2004
According to a report dated June 15, 2004, by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, the number of Americans in need of organ transplants is outpaced by the number of organs available for transplantation.
The Commission in its "Health Care at the Crossroads" Report estimates that over the next year, more than 6,000 people of over 85,000 Americans on an organ transplant waiting list will die before a vital organ becomes available. The report found that the waiting list for organs grows by 19 percent each year. Donations during the past year (2003) increased 4.8%, after average yearly increases of 3.7% during the preceding decade.
Among the recommendations in the report:Organ donation must be made as a higher priorityEquity, fairness, and safety must be achievedThe supply of donated organs must be increased
"The challenge today is to make the gift of life available to all who need it," says Dennis S. O’Leary, M.D., president, Joint Commission.
Become an organ donor
Quick Statistics on the Organ Donation Gap (from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations):More than 85,000 people are currently on the waiting list for an organ; more than 6,000 people per year are dying while waiting. – United Network for Organ Sharing, March 14, 2004The waiting list for organs grows by an average of 19 percent every year. – United Network of Organ SharingEighty percent of organ donations are from 19 percent of all hospitals. – New England Journal of Medicine, August 2003The rates at which hospitals successfully obtain consent for organ donation range from more than 90 percent to less than 10 percent. – Scientific Registry of Transplant RecipientsThe number of potential deceased donors from all hospitals ranges from 10,500 to 13,800 per year. – New England Journal of MedicineA recent study found that 54 percent of potential donor families consented to organ donation; 39 percent of families would not consent; and 16 percent of families were never asked. – New England Journal of Medicine, August 2003Since 2001, the number of living donors has surpassed deceased donors (6,618 vs. 6,182), almost entirely due to living kidney donation (94%), although the rate of growth in living donation has slowed dramatically. – 2003 OPTN/STR Annual Report: Transplant Data 1993-2002Of the estimated 17 million people with diabetes in this country, about 5.9 million are undiagnosed. Without treatment, diabetes can rapidly progress to kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, and stroke. – U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesAfrican Americans represent 12 percent of the overall U.S. population, yet account for more than 35 percent of patients awaiting a kidney donation. – Transplantation ReviewsWhereas white patients with end-stage renal disease wait an average of 675 days to receive a suitable kidney, black patients wait an average of 1,603 days. – Transplantation ReviewsAnd once placed on the waiting list for transplantation, blacks wait more than twice as long for an organ; have five-year graft survival rates 10 to 20 percent lower than other race/ethnic groups; and receive far fewer (14 percent) living donations than whites (78 percent). – American Journal of TransplantationOver the past 15 years, the minority organ donation rate has doubled to 28.5 percent. – Transplantation ReviewsIn 2003, minority donation rates rose 13 percent for Hispanics and 11 percent for African Americans. – U.S. Surgeon General Richard CarmonaResearchers have estimated that one in three liver donors suffers a medical complication, and half of those are serious complications. Another study found that 30 percent of liver donors had to be rehospitalized. This same study found that the typical living donor is hospitalized for about 10 days, takes 2.5 months off of work, and needs another month for full recovery. As of 2002, 56 kidney donors have themselves later needed kidney transplantation. – Los Angeles TimesSeven to 20 percent of non-renal transplant patients experience chronic renal failure within five years of their transplants. – New England Journal of Medicine
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