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Organ type and waiting time

The waiting list is a computer system that stores medical information for every person waiting for an organ transplant in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. When a deceased donor organ becomes available, information about that organ is entered into the computer system. The system then generates a match run, which is a list of candidates who might be a good match for that organ.

To determine a potential match, the system looks at factors like:

  • Blood type
  • Tissue type
  • Medical urgency
  • Body size
  • Distance from donor hospital to recipient hospital

Blood type and other medical factors weigh into the allocation of every donated organ, but each organ type has its own individual distribution policy reflects reflect factors that are unique to each organ type:

Kidney

  • Waiting time
  • Donor/recipient immune system compatibility
  • Prior living donor
  • Distance from donor hospital
  • Survival benefit
  • Pediatric status

Liver

  • Medical urgency
  • Distance from donor hospital
  • Pediatric status

Heart

  • Medical urgency
  • Distance from donor hospital
  • Pediatric status

Lung

  • Survival benefit
  • Medical urgency
  • Waiting time
  • Distance from donor hospital
  • Pediatric status

Did you know?

  • UNOS facilitates all organ allocation in the U.S.
  • Every transplant hospital in the U.S. must meet specific requirements.
  • There are many financial resources for transplants.
  • Living donation increases the existing organ supply.
  • It’s important to get to know your transplant team.
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