Solid organ donation after death in the United States: Data-driven messaging to encourage potential donors

Kiran Bambha, Alexandra Shingina, Jennifer L Dodge, Kevin O'Connor, Sue Dunn, Jennifer Prinz, Mark Pabst, Kathy Nilles, Lena Sibulesky, Scott W Biggins
American Journal of Transplantation 2020 January 9
U.S. deceased donor solid organ transplantation (dd-SOT) depends upon an individual's/family's altruistic willingness to donate organs after death; however, there is a shortage of deceased organ donors in the U.S. Informing individuals of their own lifetime risk of needing dd-SOT could reframe the decision-making around organ donation after death. Using United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) data (2007-2016), this cross-sectional study identified: (i)deceased organ donors; (ii)individuals wait-listed for dd-SOT (liver, kidney, pancreas, heart, lung, intestine); (iii)dd-SOT recipients. Using U.S. population projections, life-tables, and mortality estimates, we quantified probabilities (Pr) of: (i)becoming deceased organ donors; (ii)needing dd-SOT; (iii)receiving dd-SOT. Lifetime Pr (per 100,000 U.S. population) for males and females of becoming deceased organ donors were 212 and 146, respectively, and of needing dd-SOT were 1323 and 803, respectively. Lifetime Pr of receiving dd-SOT was 50% for males, 48% for females. Over a lifetime, males were 6.2 and females 5.5 times more likely to need dd-SOT than to become deceased organ donors. Organ donation is traditionally contextualized in terms of charity towards others. Our analyses yield a new tool, in the form of quantifying an individual's own likelihood of needing dd-SOT, which may assist with reframing motivations towards deceased donor organ donation.


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