A new analysis has determined that organs donated in the United States have added more than 2 million years to the lives of recipients.
Researchers looked at data collected between Sept. 1, 1987, and Dec. 31, 2012, and found that 533,329 people received a donated organ (including kidneys, hearts, livers, and intestines), while 579,506 on the waiting list did not. After comparing the outcomes for patients in both groups, they determined that 2,270,859 extra years were added — a "stellar accomplishment," the study authors said. That number will continue to increase as transplant recipients remain living.
The team determined that heart transplants were the most successful, giving patients an extra 4.9 years on average, while kidney recipients averaged 4.4 extra years and liver recipients 4.3 extra years. There is some bad news: Only 48 percent of patients who make it to the waiting list get new organs, and "the critical shortage of donors continues to hamper this field," the researchers wrote. They would like more potential donors to realize they have "tremendous potential to do even more good for humankind in the future."
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