Life Matters Media
Quality of life at the end of life

NEW FINDINGS: Deceased Organ Donors Top 10,000 For First Time In U.S. History


The number of deceased organ donors exceeded 10,000 for the first time ever in the U.S., according to new findings from the national organ procurement network.

The United Network for Organ Sharing reports organs were recovered from 10,281 donors in 2017, a 3 percent increase over 2016 and 27 percent increase from 2007.

Nearly 35,000 organ transplants were performed in 2017 using organs from both deceased and living donors, according to UNOS, the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network under federal contract.

Kidney, liver, heart and lung transplants were the most common.

“We are grateful that more lives are being saved, year after year, thanks to the boundless generosity of organ donors,” said Dr.r Yolanda Becker, president of the OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors, in a statement. “We remain committed to increasing the number of transplants still further to help the many thousands of people in need of a transplant to sustain them and vastly improve their quality of life.”

More than 80 percent (28,587) of transplants performed in 2017 involved organs from deceased donors. Living donor transplants accounted for the rest (6,181).

Broadening of clinical criteria for potential donors accounts for some of the increase.

“As we increase our understanding of medical criteria that contribute to successful transplantation, donation and transplantation professionals have been able to use organs from a wider set of potential donors,” said Dr. David Klassen, UNOS Chief Medical Officer, in a statement. “In doing so, we continue to carefully balance the opportunity for transplantation with a commitment to maintaining patient safety.”

In 2017, a higher proportion of donors had medical characteristics such as donation after circulatory death as opposed to brain death, drug intoxication as a mechanism of death, age of 50 or older, and/or being identified as having increased risk for blood-borne disease.

– Image courtesy WikiMedia Commons