FIGURE 1-1 Growth in the number of transplants and in the number of candidates on the transplant waiting list.

SOURCE: HRSA and SRTR (2006).

has since more than doubled so that by January 2006 the waiting list topped 90,000 individuals (Figure 1-1) (IOM, 1999; OPTN, 2006). The waiting list is primarily driven by the need for kidney transplants. The statistics on the transplant waiting list are continually updated, and as of March 24, 2006, there were 91,214 transplant candidates3 on the waiting list, of whom 65,917 individuals (approximately 70 percent of the waiting list) were candidates for kidney transplantation. In 2005, 44,619 transplant candidates were added to the waiting list (OPTN, 2006).

As the demand for organ transplants far exceeds the current supply of available organs, various efforts are under way to determine how best to reduce the gap between supply and demand. In addition to refinements in hospital processes and protocols, several proposals are being discussed that


The waiting list is dynamic and changes throughout the year as new candidates and registrations are added, individuals receiving a transplant are removed, and other changes are made. OPTN provides data on the number of waiting list candidates and registrations. These numbers differ because one waiting list candidate may have multiple registrations. For example, a patient who is listed through more than one center or for multiple organs would have multiple registrations. Throughout this report, the statistics used are for transplant candidates, unless indicated otherwise in the text.

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