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More transplants performed in 2013, but the need continues to grow

Published on: Wednesday, January 22, 2014

In 2013, 28,954 patients on the national transplant waiting list received a life-saving organ. That is a new annual record, exceeding the previous total of 28,940 set in 2006. Nearly 80 percent of those transplants (22,965) involved deceased donors, another all-time annual record and an increase of 3.5 percent over the 2012 total. At the same time, more than 123,051 are waiting for a donated organ. The average wait is five to seven years. A total of 4,364 patients died while waiting in 2013.

More transplant and donation trends

• Over the last decade, the majority of transplant recipients were age 50 and older. The most common age range of transplant recipients is between 50 and 64, accounting for 12,675 transplants. There were 5,069 transplants performed for recipients age 65 and older; this is the first year more than 5,000 transplants have been performed for recipients in this age group.

• While the majority of deceased organ donors were younger than age 50, the trend of adolescent donors (age 11 to 17) has markedly decreased over the past 20 years. There were 410 deceased donors between 11 and 17 in 2013, down from a peak of 706 in 1995.

• There were 5,989 transplants involving living donors. This total is higher than the previous year (5,866 in 2012) but is considerably lower than the record of 6,991 in 2004. One notable increase is in the rate of living donor kidney transplants as a result of kidney paired donation (KPD). There were 589 reported KPD transplants in 2013, an increase of 11.5 percent over 2012.

• Rates of deceased donation by ethnicity varied little in 2013 compared to previous years. The proportion of deceased donors by ethnicity is generally similar to the ethnic makeup of the U.S. population.

• The number of Hispanic transplant recipients has more than doubled in the past 20 years, from 1,535 in 1993 to 4,133 in 2013. As a percentage of all transplants, approximately 14 percent of recipients in 2013 were Hispanic, as compared to 8.7 percent in 1993.