Newest Heart Transplant – Wait List Statistics

| January 9, 2012 | 0 Comments

Patients on the heart transplant wait list or patients waiting for any other organ transplant will do well to understand the functions of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) and its partner the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN).  The information below is available 24/7 at the OPTN Database.  Once you learn to navigate the database, you can understand the activity in the nation, the region and the specific center or centers where you are listed. 

Wait list candidates as of 7:02pm on January 2nd, 2012.  All candidates will be less than the sum due to candidates waiting for multiple organs because some patients need more than one organ.  
All Organs




Pancreas 1,326  
Kidney/Pancreas 2,104  
Liver 16,111  
Intestine 275  
Heart 3,124  
Lung 1,669  
Heart/Lung 62  

In 2011, 1,760 patients on the heart wait list received heart transplants.  That figure represents a decrease from the 2,333 hearts transplanted in 2010 and the 2,211 in 2009.

As of September 30, 2011, 10,558 donors had contributed organs for transplant.

Currently there are 3,124 patients awaiting heart transplantation in the U.S.  This figure changes immediately depending on adjustments.  Below is a breakdown of patients currently on the wait list and actual transplants by region:

Region 1 – Connecticut, Maine, Mass, New Hampshire, Rhode Island – Currently on the wait list = 193.  Transplants in 2011 = 69

Region 2 – Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia – Currently on wait list = 320 – Transplants in 2011 = 232

Region 3 – Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Puerto Rico and Mississippi – Currently there are 326 patients waiting for hearts.  In 2011, 233 patients received heart transplants.

Region 4 – Texas, Oklahoma – 453 patients are on the heart transplant wait list.  171 patients received transplants in 2011.

Region 5 – Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah – 307 patients are on the wait list for hearts.  255 heart transplants were performed in 2011. 

Region 6 – Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington – 91 patients are waiting –44 patients received hearts in 2011.

Region 7 – Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin – Currently waiting are 389 candidates. 175 heart transplants were performed in 2011.

Region 8 – Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Neb – 157 on the heart transplant wait list. 118 heart transplants were performed in 2011.

Region 9 – New York, Vermont – 284 heart patients on wait list. 126 patients received hearts in 2011.

Region 10 – Ohio, Michigan, Indiana – Currently 276 patients are waiting. 141 heart transplants were performed in 2011.

The breakdown of heart transplants by blood type in 2011 are listed below:

  • Type O =           719     Waiting =  1751  

  • Type A =          711              Waiting =  1015 
  • Type B =          238            Waiting =  327 
  • Type AB =     92           Waiting =  70

 Below are the statuses on the current heart transplant wait list:

 Status 1A = 276

Status 1B =935

Staus 2 =  1,0167

Status 7 =  938

To better understand the responsibilities of UNOS and OPTN, please continue to read.

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) was established in 1986.  The agency is mandated by Congress to be a private – public non-profit governing body of the practice of organ transplantation.  The UNOS mission statement is “to advance organ availability and transplantation by uniting and supporting our communities for the benefit of patients through education, technology and policy development.”

Candidates for transplantation should understand the role and interaction between UNOS and the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN).   The OPTN is the unified transplant network established by the United States Congress under the National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) of 1984. The act called for the network to be operated by a private, non-profit organization under federal contract.

The Board of Directors for UNOS and OPTN are the same.  Board members are chosen through an open, comprehensive nomination process. The members bring a wealth of commitment and technical knowledge to guide the OPTN in establishing and maintaining policies and procedures for organ transplantation.

Under the OPTN contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Services and Resources Administration, UNOS maintains a centralized computer network linking all organ procurement organizations and transplant centers. This computer network is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with organ placement specialists in the UNOS Organ Center always available to answer questions. 

UNOS is charged to review and ensure that the organization reflects the industry best practices.  Another important purpose of UNOS is to ensure the integrity of the organ award program.

In October, 1999, UNOS launched a new system called UNet.  This system is responsible collection, storage and analysis for patients awaiting transplantation, organ matching and transplant patients.  This data serves many purposes, including success rates for specific transplant centers.   

 UNet is a 24/7 database that persons can access to evaluate the success rates of specific centers, the number of wait list patients by a number of categories such as: 

  • Organ Type
  • Blood type
  • Status
  • Number of patients waiting
  • Number of transplant recipients

This information is posted on the OPTN website.  

UNet serves these primary purposes:

  • Register patients for transplants.
  • Match donated organs to waiting patients.
  • Manage the time-sensitive, life-critical data of all patients, before and after their transplants

UNet is used by all of the nation’s organ transplant programs, organ procurement organizations, and “histocompatibility” or tissue typing laboratories working cooperatively to efficiently share a limited number of donated organs among thousands of patients.

The OPTN links all professionals involved in the donation and transplantation system. The primary goals of the OPTN are to:

  • Increase the effectiveness and efficiency of organ sharing and equity in the national system of organ allocation, and to
  • Increase the supply of donated organs available for transplantation.

UNOS is based in Richmond, Virginia.  UNOS administers the OPTN under contract with the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

UNOS has developed a collaborative policy development, monitoring, and enforcement process for the OPTN, and also has systems in place for collecting medical data on all transplants nationwide, maintaining OPTN membership standards and reviewing membership applications.

How the Transplant System Works: Matching Donors and Recipients

UNOS maintains a centralized computer network linking all organ procurement organizations and transplant centers. This computer network is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with organ placement specialists in the UNOS Organ Center always available to answer questions.

This is how the oragn transplant works.

  • A person who may benefit from a transplant is referred by his or her doctor to a transplant center, which evaluates the patient.
  • The transplant center runs a number of tests and considers the patient’s mental and physical health, as well as his or her social support system.
  • If the center decides to accept this person as a transplant candidate, they will add his or her medical profile to the national patient waiting list for organ transplant.
  • The candidate is not placed on a ranked list at that time. Rather, his or her information is kept in a constantly updated, computerized database.
  • When a deceased organ donor is identified, a transplant coordinator from an organ procurement organization accesses the UNOS computer.
  • Each patient in the database is matched by the computer against the donor characteristics.
  • The computer then generates a ranked list of candidates for each available organ in ranked order according to OPTN organ allocation policies.
  • The match for each donor organ will be different and unique to the circumstances of the donor and the patients waiting.
  • Factors affecting ranking may include tissue match, blood type, length of time on the waiting list, immune status and the distance between the potential recipient and the donor.
  • For heart, liver, lung and intestines, the potential recipient’s degree of medical urgency is also considered.
  • The organ is offered to the transplant team for the first person on the match list. Often, the top patient will not get the organ for one of several reasons. When a patient is selected, he or she must be available, healthy enough to undergo major surgery, and willing to be transplanted immediately.
  • Also, a laboratory test to measure compatibility between the donor and recipient may be necessary. For example, patients with high antibody levels often prove incompatible to the donor organ and cannot receive the organ because the patient’s immune system would reject it.
  • Once a patient is selected and contacted and all testing is complete, surgery is scheduled and the transplant takes place.  For a heart transplant, the surgery must begin within 5 hours of  award.  For this reason, many heart transplant centers contact more than one perosn on the wait list.  Surprisingly, some patients decline at the last minute.  Occasionally, the patient at the top of the list is not physically able to undergo the transplant.








Post a Comment