Organ transplants in the United States have increased nearly 20 percent
in the past five years.
Today is not only Valentine’s Day, but it’s National Organ
Donor Day – and many would agree that there is no greater act of
love and kindness than to help save another person’s life, whether
it’s through blood, marrow, tissue or even organ donation.
Organ transplants performed in the United States in 2016 reached a record
high for the fourth consecutive year in a row, according to recent data
from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).
During 2016, there were 33,606 transplants, which is an 8.5 percent increase
over 2015 and a 19.8 percent increase since 2012. Approximately 82 percent,
or 27,628, of the transplants involved organs from deceased donors, who
often provide multiple organs. The remaining 18 percent, or 5,978, were
performed with organs from living donors.
(Image source: www.unos.org)
There are many reasons for the increase in organ donations, but the primary
factor is due to an increased number of deceased donors in 2016 who had
medical characteristics that, in prior years, may have been disqualified
as organ donors. These include people who donated after circulatory death
as opposed to brain death, as well as donors who died of drug intoxication
or those identified as having some increased risk for blood-borne disease.
This is because, in the last several years, health care professionals
have had increased success safely using organs from these types of donors,
according to UNOS.
Another reason, unfortunately, for the increase in organ donations is the
opioid epidemic that is sweeping the United States, and the increase in
donors who have died of overdoses in the past year.
Read more about what it means to sign up to be an organ donor.
The human spirit is amazing and giving, and today St. Joseph Health pays
tribute to the many people who have donated of themselves to save the
lives of, quite often, a complete stranger.
Do you know someone who has donated blood, marrow, tissue or even an organ
to help others? Tell us about these amazing people in your life by commenting below.