We understand that waiting for a donor organ can be stressful. According to the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS), nearly 50 percent of those on the waiting list must wait more than five years from their listing date to receive a transplant.
At Baylor, we know advanced heart failure is debilitating and the ability to receive a transplant as soon as possible after diagnostic confirmation is optimal, since it can make a difference in the patient’s outcome and quality of life. The median time on the waiting list for Status 1A patients at Baylor University Medical Center from acceptance to transplant less than 10 days.
How do I rank on the national list?
Priority for heart transplant is based on clinical or medical status. Patients with 1A status are the most critically ill and are first priority for transplant. At the time a donor becomes available, other factors such as the health of the recipient, blood type, tissue type, and geographic location are considered.
What is an Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) and what do they do?
The Organ Procurement Organization provides education to the public about organ donation; works with hospitals in their specific region for organ procurement; and talks to families about the possibility of organ donation. Patients who are put on the national organ transplant waiting list will be associated with the OPO in their transplant center’s specific region.
In Texas, there are three OPO’s. Baylor University Medical Center is in the Southwest Transplant Alliance OPO. Life Gift and Texas Organ Sharing Alliance are the two other OPOS. Each state has one or more OPOs .
Can I be on more than one list?
Yes. When you are determined eligible for a heart transplant, you are immediately listed with the OPO assigned to your transplant program. You can also be on an OPO list outside of your region or even choose to transfer your care to another transplant center within your same OPO.
Are there advantages of being on more than one list?
Yes. If you are on a waiting list on multiple OPOs, you will have access to more donor pools. Some OPO waiting lists move more quickly than others based on organ availability; number of individuals on the waiting list; and the transplant centers within the OPO. Some programs may have different rules that affect their acceptance or rejection of potential donors, so average wait time for an organ may also vary.
If I transfer my care within my region, what will happen to my time on the list?
If you transfer transplant programs within the same OPO, your primary waiting time will transfer to the new center when you list there.
Will I need to be evaluated by each transplant center?
Yes. Each center decides who is a candidate for organ transplantation within their program and may have testing requirements. In contacting another program, you may ask which testing and results they may wish to review from the original listing program. You should also advise your primary center of your intention to multi-list.