For Patients and Donors


I want to donate one of my organs, how do I become a donor?

The SRTR is the organization that performs statistical analysis regarding organ transplantation in the US. The SRTR does not run the waiting list system in the US. SRTR also has no involvement in procuring organs or donors. These issues are managed by an organization called OPTN/UNOS.

You might consider looking at www.transplantliving.org. Transplantliving.org includes information for those interested in donating. You may find additional information UNOS' website at www.unos.org.

 

I need to get on the list for a transplant, how do I do that?

The SRTR is the organization that performs statistical analysis regarding organ transplantation in the US. The SRTR does not run the waiting list system in the US. The waiting lists are managed by an organization called UNOS. UNOS has a patient services hotline that might have more information on getting on the waiting list: 888-894-6361.

Generally, patients need to first identify centers they may want to get a transplant at first, and then contact those centers directly to get on lists. You may find additional information at www.unos.org.

The SRTR website has some resources available to help you make a decision on which centers might be right for your situation at: http://www.srtr.org. At the top of each page, just to the right of the SRTR logo, there is an option to select which organ you are interested in and then select an area by entering a state or zip-code. If you are interested in any transplant center in the U.S. just leave the "Search by Postal Code or Program Name" box blank, before clicking the "Search" button. Feel free to email us at srtr@srtr.org if you have specific questions about the data presented.

 

Selecting a Transplant Center

SRTR can provide potential transplant candidates with information that may be helpful in making an informed decision about transplant centers, but SRTR cannot determine what center is best. The best transplant center for each patient depends in many ways on that patient’s situation. Some patients may want to select the transplant center closest to their residence. Others may want to select a center based on its experience with patients with certain conditions, such as diabetes, or certain patient groups, such as pediatrics. Not all transplant centers perform living donor transplants, which may be a requirement for some patients. Some insurance carriers may encourage their patients to seek out specific transplant centers. Individual circumstances dictate the best choice.

 

Where do I find a center’s phone number?

On a center’s “summary page” at the top, we provide the address and phone number of the center, as well as a map of their location.

 

I need a list of the transplant surgeons and their contact information, do you provide that?

No. You can contact OPTN for information, or an organization like American Transplant Surgeons (AST) might be able to provide that. We do not have surgeon’s information.

 

What is transplant rate? What does it tell me?

Basically, it is a metric that tells us how quickly a center is moving patients through their system once listed. If wait-time is a factor, a patient should look at centers with higher transplant rates.

 

Why is the transplant rate higher than 100 in some instances?

The rate is not a percentage, so there can be instances where it is in the thousands. It tells us you can expect if 100 patients waited one year. So, a center that has a rate of 1000, would theoretically have a significantly high number of patients listing and getting their transplants immediately within that observed period.

SRTR gets that rate by dividing the “Actual” number of transplants by the person years. Time on the waitlist for all patients on a waitlist at a center is converted into “person years” to give a cumulative measure because, various patients are on the wait list for various time-frames. It’s a conventional way to tally cumulative time. All centers’ data is tallied the same way, similarly to a percentage, so centers can all be compared along the same lines with the same rates. 

 

What does the volume tell me?

Volume tells you how many transplants per year a center does. A higher volume means the center obviously does many transplants of a certain type. High volume centers generally will take a lot of high risk patients, or possibly anyone who needs a transplant.

 

Why do you only show, at most, 3 year outcomes? I’d like to see 5 or 10 years out.

We have determined that any time-range longer than 3 years, isn’t painting an accurate picture of what’s happening at that center. Many factors can change at a center, even in three years. If you want a longer-term outlook, you can check the Annual Data Report: https://srtr.transplant.hrsa.gov/annual_reports/Default.aspx, which shows what is happening in transplantation in a general sense, nation-wide.

 

I need to know if a certain center will accept me to their list.

SRTR only reports on outcomes for patients that have been placed on a list and/or patients that have received a transplant. We don’t track centers’ pre-listing practices. Centers have different criteria for adding patients to lists. The only way for a potential transplant patient to know, is to contact the center directly to find out more.

 

If I want or need to transfer to another center, will my priority on the list change?

No. Your priority transfers with you. We use the term “priority” rather than position, because it is important to understand, that even if you are #1 on the list at a center, you may see others offered organs before you. This is due to the allocation policies, which are in place to make sure that not only are organs allocated fairly, but to recipients that are the best match. This is the most effective way to decrease organ discards and decrease graft failure death once the organ is placed. For more information on allocation policies https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/media/1200/optn_policies.pdf

 

How can I get on the list at more than one center?

Patients can get on the lists of more than one center and “multi-listing” can help your odds of getting transplanted sooner. However, to get multi-listed, you still need to contact each center individually to discuss the options. Centers have different criteria for adding patients to lists and may have different tests needed to determine acceptability of a candidate. So, you may already be a candidate at one center and have gone through multiple tests, but another center may accept the results of those tests, or they may need additional testing. The only way for to know for sure is to contact the center directly to find out more.

 

If I want to multi-list, why should I register on the lists at centers in different regions?

It has to do with the allocation of available organs. Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) will offer an available organ to centers in its own region or local area. If you were on two lists in the same area and one organ became available, you would be competing with yourself for the offer of that one organ. If you were in two separate regions, or donor service areas, then two separate OPOs may each have an organ available and that’s two potential offers to you. Here’s more information on the organ allocation policy. https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/media/1200/optn_policies.pdf

 

I need to know, if patients transplanted at this center died, what caused the death?

SRTR only counts graft failures or deaths. We don’t consider the cause of death. Therefore, we don’t know if it was due to a complication of the graft or if it was an unrelated issue.

 

How can I predict how long it will take for my loved one (or me) to undergo transplant?

At the time a candidate is listed for transplant and while the candidate is waiting, accurate predictions of how long that candidate will continue to wait are difficult to make. Many factors influence waiting time, including the candidate’s blood and tissue types. Information about the experiences of past patients may or may not be helpful because allocation policies and donor availability may have changed. As the waiting lists grow, they look different today from the way they looked just 5 years ago.

 

Why doesn’t median time to transplant provide an estimate of how long a particular patient would wait?

Median time to transplant indicates the time at which half of the patients listed within a particular timeframe at a particular center have undergone transplant. For example, if the median waiting time for patients listed during 2019 was 4.5 years, this means that half of the patients listed in 2019 had undergone transplant within 4.5 years of listing. Many factors affect waiting times, including health status (priority level) and blood and tissue types, so knowing the median time to transplant for a center’s entire list may not tell you what waiting times are for people like you. For certain organs, such as kidneys, waiting times are often 5 years or more, and we need to study patients who were listed 4 or 5 years ago to determine how long it took for half of them to undergo transplant. Of course, what happened for patients listed 5 years ago may not accurately reflect what might happen for patients listed today.

In addition, half of the candidates at some programs may not have undergone transplant yet, so the median time to transplant is not yet available. And, for many programs whose waiting lists are relatively small, estimates of the median waiting time may be uncertain, making the measure highly variable from year to year. For these reasons, looking at the percentage of patients similar to you who underwent transplant within certain timeframes, for example 1 year, 2 years, or 3 years, may provide better information. These metrics are available in the program specific reports. For more information, contact an SRTR representative at srtr@srtr.org.

 

Does the time to transplant calculation take into account the severity of illness or the priority level of the candidate?

The median time to transplant estimates presented in the program-specific reports are not adjusted for the mix of patient characteristics at the transplant program, such as severity of illness, geography, donor type or age. These metrics are meant to provide an overall estimate of historical median (average) waiting time. The program-specific reports do contain tables that indicate the percentage of patients that have received a transplant by certain times post-listing broken down by various patient characteristics. These may be more informative than the overall estimate of median waiting time.