Organ Transplants Hit an All-Time High in 2017. But It's a Bittersweet Win

From TIME - January 10, 2018

Last year, organs were recovered from 10,281 deceased donorsmore than a 3% increase from 2016 and a 27% increase over the last 10 years.

Those organs contributed to the 34,768 transplants performed in 2017 using organs from both deceased and living donorsa new record for organ transplants in the United States. The reasons why are both hopeful and concerning.

The new data comes from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a non-profit organization that manages the United Statess organ transplant system through a contract with the federal government. The number of transplant performed in 2017 marks the fifth consecutive record-setting year for transplants.

The number of transplants is directly related to the number of donors, says Dr. David Klassen, the chief medical officer of UNOS. I think who can be a donor has really evolved over the years. The transplant community as a whole has done a really good job looking beyond the usual places of who can be a donor.

Researchers are now finding ways to recover and use organs that would normally be discarded. At Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, there are ongoing clinical trials where people are given organs from donors who are infected with hepatitis C. After the transplant, recipients take a drug that will clear them of the disease. So far, the trial is having positive results.


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