More than 2 million years of life have been saved by solid-organ transplants since 1987, according to a new report in JAMA Surgery.


The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) maintains a national registry for organ matching. Abbas Rana, M.D., of the Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, and coauthors analyzed data from UNOS and the Social Security Administration Master File to determine the survival benefit of solid-organ transplants from September 1987 through 2012.


The authors reviewed the records of more than 1.1 million patients: 533,329 were organ transplant recipients and 579,506 were patients placed on a waiting list but never underwent transplant.


Results of the authors’ analysis indicate about 2.2 million years of life were saved during the 25-year period, with an average of 4.3 years of life saved for every solid-organ transplant recipient.

·         Kidney transplant, 1.3 million years of life saved

·         Liver transplant, 465,296 years of life saved

·         Heart transplant, 269,715 years of life saved

·         Lung transplant, 64,575 years of life saved

·         Pancreas-kidney transplant, 79,198 years of life saved

·         Pancreas transplant, 14,903 years of life saved

·         Intestine transplant, 4,402 years of life saved


“Our analysis indicated that, as a nation, we achieved the peak volume in transplantation in 2006. The critical shortage of donors continues to hamper this field: only 47.9 percent of patients on the waiting list during the 25-year study period underwent a transplant. The need is increasing: therefore, organ donation must increase. We call for deepened support of solid-organ transplant and donation – worthy endeavors with a remarkable record of achievement and a tremendous potential to do even more good for humankind in the future,” the study concludes.

Citation: JAMA Surgery. Published online January 28, 2015. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2014.2038.