Current Data & Basics in California

The Basics

  • There are currently more than 110,000 people on the UNOS National Organ Transplant Waiting List.  More than 21,000, or 20% of the national total, are listed at California transplant centers.
  • Of those waiting, one in three will die due to a shortage of organs.
  • Nationwide, approximately 18 people die each day awaiting life-saving organ transplants, and a new name is added to the national waiting list every 13 minutes.
  • One organ donor can save up to eight lives and one tissue donor can improve the lives of up to 50 others.
  • Nationwide, approximately 70% of the 13,500 cases each year where patients are pronounced brain dead are medically suitable to be organ donors. The donor is indentified via the registry or family authorized donation.
Needs in Minority Communities
  • Nationwide, minorities represent 54% of organ transplant candidates and more than 60% of those awaiting kidney transplants.
  • In California, Latinos make up 35% of those waiting for life-saving transplants, Asians/Pacific Islanders comprise 16%, and African Americans another 14%.
  • Nearly 75% of those waiting for kidney transplants are people of color.
  • Nationwide, African Americans comprise 12% of the total population, but represent 35% of kidney transplant candidates. This high proportion is due to a higher incidence of diabetes and hypertension.
  • Organs that may be donated (in order of frequency transplanted) include the kidneys, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas and small intestine.
  • Tissues that may be donated include corneas/eyes, heart valves, skin, bone, tendons, cartilage and veins.
  • In about 90% of instances, only patients who experience brain death – a medically, legally and morally accepted determination of death resulting from the complete lack of blood flow to the brain – may donate vital organs. This represents about 1% of all deaths in hospitals annually. Under rare and controlled circumstances involving major neurological trauma, organs may be donated after cardiac death.

                Waiting list numbers as of 09.26.14.pdf