More than 3.8 million Missourians are registered as potential organ, eye and tissue donors. Virginia Beatty with the Missouri Organ and Tissue Donor program says even though many Missourians are registered donors, more than 1,100 individuals are waiting for a new kidney.
“There are multiple reasons why somebody might be on the kidney transplant waiting list, including polycystic kidney disease, injury and uncontrolled diabetes or hypertension. All of these can cause damage to the kidneys,” says Beatty. “In Missouri as well as nationally, individuals waiting for a kidney is the largest waiting list. Some people get a kidney within 30 days or less and others wait five or more years. The average wait time is three to five years for a kidney transplant.”
Beatty says several things must fall into place for a kidney transplant patient.
“The wait time for an individual is dependent upon a variety of factors, including availability of a matching kidney, blood and tissue type, immune compatibility between you and the donor, and the distance from the donor hospital. The other thing to consider is not all organs that become available are viable for transplant. That determination is always made at the time of death through a medical evaluation,” she says.
The state also wants to increase the public’s awareness about the need for more living kidney donations.
“An individual who receives a kidney from a living donor usually has better long-term outcomes,” says Beatty.
The next largest wait list is for a liver. About 116 Missourians are on that list.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says one donor can save eight lives.
“No matter the decision to be, or not to be an organ, eye or tissue donor, inform your family,” Beatty says.
Click here to register or to learn more about the program.
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