The Present Crisis


The Facts:

  • The GOLD - The Gift of Living Donation - Dialysis and ESRD Crisis There are currently over 97,000 End Stage Renal Disease (“ESRD”) patients on the national waiting list for a kidney transplant.
  • Over 3,000 people are added to the waiting list monthly.
  • The average wait time is 6 years, and projected to only get worse.
  • Approximately 18 people die daily while on this waiting list, or one death every 80 minutes.
  • Approximately 5 people are removed daily from the list, because they’ve become too ill for a transplant.
  • Now, only 12% of kidney transplant candidates get an organ from family or friends.


Things Will Probably Get Worse:
The waiting list increases annually; it always has. Unfortunately, there are numerous factors which would appear not only to reinforce this trend, but may accelerate its growth as well:

  • The GOLD - The Gift of Living Donation - Kidney DonationOur population is living longer.
  • Kidney failure due to Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure is on the rise; unfortunately, the current trend in obesity will only make these incidents increase.
  • It is estimated that 600,000 patients are currently on dialysis.
  • There are kidney recipients who are aging and will need a replacement kidney.
  • Public awareness to generate deceased donor registrations is difficult with the limited amount of funding presently available.
  • Clinical changes which decrease the number of brain deaths may affect the future supply of deceased donations.
This illustrates that given present trends, our shortage will only continue to grow.
It should be noted that the number of living donors has decreased in four of the last five years, and for the same period the number of deceased donors has remained relatively flat.

Current suggested solutions are not enough...

  • "The aging “Baby Boomer” population will increase the number of available deceased organs."
    • This may be so, but the effect would not be substantial, and probably not compensate for the Baby Boomers’ needs for organs.
  • "Artificial Kidneys and stem cell related cures may be developed."
    • Talk of this breakthrough has not been loud, and the costs would be unknown. It will certainly have no impact in the short term.
  • The GOLD - The Gift of Living Donation - Dialysis Patients"Additional awareness campaigns need to be launched to increase organ donor registrations for deceased donations."
    • The only significant present activity is the result of the regional OPO’s efforts and budgets, which vary widely. In addition, these efforts are almost exclusively aimed toward deceased donor registrations, as that is the primary concern of the OPO’s.
  • "Redefining the criteria by which potential deceased donors are declared brain dead."
    • This is an extremely controversial topic which has no short term solution.
  • "Relaxing the criteria for living organ donation."
    • This is another controversial topic; in addition, its implementation would include additional short and long term risks to both the donor and recipient.
  • "Legislation is in the works to allow Presumed Consent."
    • This talk is just starting, so any sizable impact is years away.
    • Of the 2 million deaths in the U.S. each year, only 10,000-13,000 yield organs healthy enough for transplanting. After eliminating the “opt outs”, Presumed Consent, even if ratified by all states, would barely put a dent in the need.

Did you know?

Each living donation either removes one less person from the waiting list and thereby shortens the wait time for those on the list, or saves a person from needing to join the list.

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