While you were visiting TNNOD.org, it’s likely that at least one new name was added to the national transplant waiting list. Because unfortunately, in the U.S. a person is listed for transplant every 11 minutes. That’s 130 people joining the list every day.
And if that statistic isn’t heartbreaking enough, consider that while 75 people receive organ transplants each day on average, 19 people die each day waiting for transplants because of the shortage of available donor organs.
Organ transplantation has become an accepted medical treatment for end-stage organ failure. But only people like you — who are willing to make the generous, selfless decision to become organ donors — can help make life-saving transplants happen and prevent these needless deaths.
Behind the Numbers
Statistics can sometimes be overwhelming and difficult to understand. It may help to think of the statistics on this website in a more personal way, by remembering that every number represents a person: a person who is waiting for a transplant, a person who has left his or her legacy through organ and tissue donation, or a person whose life was cut short because he or she wasn’t able to undergo a transplant. Every number represents somebody’s child, parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle, cousin or friend. It may be even be someone you know.
Statistics also change. Some change day to day and some can even change minute to minute. So you may see different numbers each time you return to TNNOD.org or some of the other websites linked from here. You may ask why this happens. There are several reasons. One of the most confusing statistics is the number of people waiting for transplants. Patients are allowed to register at multiple transplant centers, so you may see a higher number if you count "registrations" rather than "candidates."
Additionally, you may notice that both the number of transplants and the number of donors are growing. But as wonderful as it is that these numbers are going up, the reality is that the number of candidates on the waiting list still dwarfs the number of donor organs available. The National Network of Organ Donors is committed to changing this trend, and you can help by registering with TNNOD to become a donor.
Here are some interesting facts:
• As of May 4, 2009, the percentage of kidney, heart, liver and lung recipients who were still alive five years after their transplants is as follows:
• In 2008, 60 percent of living donors were women. while 60 percent of deceased donors were men.
• In 2008, 67 percent of all deceased donors were white, 16 percent were Black, 14 percent were Hispanic and 2.5 percent were Asian.
• As of November 2010, the national waiting list was made up of 45 percent white, 29 percent Black, 18 percent Hispanic and 6 percent Asian candidates.
More than 94 million individuals in the U.S. are 50 years of age and older. Imagine how many more lives could be saved if the majority of people in this age group signed up to be organ donors. People of all ages — in their 50s, 60s, even into their 80s and older — can sign up to be donors. And people over 50 can be eligible to receive transplants as well.
• Your age doesn’t make you ineligible to sign up; nor do you have to be in perfect health. Each person’s ability to donate is determined at the time of his or her death.
• People of all ages — from infants to great-grandparents — are on the national transplant waiting list.
• Two-thirds of the individuals waiting for an organ transplant in 2008 were 50 or older. That year 2,216 deceased donors were between the ages of 50 and 64, while 725 deceased donors were 65 or older.
• In 2008, 15,764 of the 27,965 people who received transplants, or 56.3 percent, were 50 or older.
• According to the 2005 National Survey of Organ and Tissue Donation Attitudes and Behaviors, conducted by The Gallup Organization, roughly 20 percent of people over the age of 65 mistakenly think they are too old to donate an organ, while nearly 12 percent believe they are too old to receive one.
• According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, as of January 2010, there are 47,734 people between the ages of 50 and 64 and 17,689 people over the age of 65 on the national waiting list.