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Increasing the number of organs available for transplants

Published on: Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Region 4 OPO leadership shares effective practices in video recording

The annual number of transplants in 2014 was 29,532, a record at the time. We reviewed OPTN data to find out which areas of the country were responsible for driving this increase. Region 4 succeeded in increasing the number of donors in the region by 19% from 2013 to 2014, the largest increase of any region. The number of transplants in region 4 increased almost 10% (2,691 to 2,952) during this same period. Organ donation rates and transplant volumes had been stagnant over previous years.

The OPOs attribute their success to changes in leadership and culture, quality management and improvement, a specific focus on donor authorization and consent rates, and the recovery and use of donation after cardiac death (DCD) organs.


 is your new resource for educational webinars for transplant professionals. Sign in UNOS Connect to access this and other webinar recordings.

 After watching this video, you will be able to:

  1. Summarize four areas where Region 4 OPOs have made changes that increased the number of organs available for transplant.
  2. State at least two practices used by Region 4 OPOs that have contributed to their success.

How Region 4 approached OPTN Strategic goals

The OPTN Board of Directors recently approved an updated strategic plan. The plan’s goal is to focus efforts that will increase the number of organs available for transplant. UNOS wanted to know how region 4 was managing to meet that goal, so we asked them what they were doing differently.

As part of our discussions, four themes rose to the surface:

  • Leadership and culture shifts;
  • Changes in quality management and improvement;
  • Renewed focus on donor authorization and consent rates; and
  • An increase in recovery and utilization of donation after cardiac death (DCD) organs.

Region 4 OPO leadership shared that they have worked more closely over the past few years to build a unified front in achieving a common goal – to maximize the gifts available to get patients transplanted. With this goal, there was also an effort to renew and rebuild relationships – within their organizations and with their affiliated transplanting centers. They admit that it has been hard work with many challenges, but it is beginning to pay off.