Organ and Tissue Donation by the Numbers

By Friends & Neighbors December 15, 2016 15:08

Read a heart transplant recipient’s story here, from our Winter 2016-’17 issue:

Think you’re too old to be an organ donor? Think again. There’s no age limit. The key factor is the health of the organs or tissues involved.

Californians can register to be donors by signing up at the DMV or online at

Tissues that can be donated are corneas, whole eyes, veins, heart valves, skin, bone and connective tissue. Organs that can be donated: lungs, heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys and intestines.


Less than 1 Percentage of people who upon death are able to save lives as an organ donor. Only 3 in 1,000 people die in a way that allows for organ donation; the majority of deceased donors are patients who have been declared brain dead. Living donors also provide a share of organs for transplant.

4-6 Number of hours a heart can be viable from time of removal to transplant

3.6 Median wait time in years for kidney transplant; in some areas it’s much longer

8 Number of lives one organ donor can save (heart, two lungs, liver, pancreas, two kidneys, intestines)

24-48 Number of hours kidneys can be viable from time of removal to transplant

45 Percentage of Californians who are registered organ donors

48 Percentage of U.S. adults signed up as organ donors

50 Number of people a single tissue donor can help

85 Percentage of people able to be tissue donors

92 Age of oldest U.S. organ donor to date, whose liver saved a 69-year-old woman; a 107-year-old Scottish woman’s corneas saved a younger patient’s vision

1,160 Number of people who died in 2015 waiting for organ donation in California, which has the nation’s largest waiting list

14,627 Number of people nationwide on waiting list for a new liver

30,970 Number of transplants of all kinds performed nationwide in 2015

99,300 Number of Americans waiting for a new kidney, the most common transplant; in 2015, 17,878 kidney transplants were performed

120,000 Number of Americans waiting for an organ transplant;

22,000 are Californians

607,000 Number of people saved or healed as a result of DMV’s 10-year partnership with Donate Life California, the nonprofit, state-authorized organ, eye and tissue donor registry

Sources include United Network for Organ Sharing,; National Kidney Foundation,;;

Copyright © 2016 Friends and Neighbors Magazine

By Friends & Neighbors December 15, 2016 15:08
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