The Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center, a joint program with the University of Louisville School of Medicine and part of KentuckyOne Health, is one of the leading providers of organ transplantation in the country. However, the work of the skilled UofL Physicians who care for patients there would not be possible without the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) and its local member, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA).
On May 19, 2015, UNOS announced that its national transplant allocation system has coordinated 500,000 organ transplants from deceased donors in the United States since its beginning in October 1987—a significant milestone. More than 250,000 recipients of these transplants are estimated to be surviving.
“This is a significant accomplishment in healthcare, made possible by the generosity of organ donors and their loved ones and the cooperative work of dedicated transplant professionals nationwide,” said OPTN/UNOS President Carl Berg, MD. UNOS serves as the national Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) under contract with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Division of Transplantation.
“It’s also an opportunity to reflect on the work yet to be done,” added Dr. Berg. “More than 123,000 people await an opportunity for a life-giving transplant today. We can meet their needs with the support of everyone who commits to organ donation.”
The Jewish Hospital Trager Transplant Center is nationally recognized for performing Kentucky’s first adult heart, pancreas, heart-lung and liver transplant, as well as the first minimally invasive kidney donation in Kentucky. Since 1964, the center has transplanted 4,310 organs, thanks to the support and coordination of UNOS and KODA.
“The work of transplant professionals would not be possible without the generosity of donor families, living donors and the organizations that match and coordinate these lifesaving donations,” said Christopher Jones, MD, director of Transplantation, Jewish Hospital, and assistant professor of Transplantation, University of Louisville. “We congratulate UNOS on reaching this significant milestone. Their work has helped save many lives and will continue to do so.”
According to UNOS, the pace of transplants has quickened in recent years. In 2014, more than 23,700 transplants were performed nationwide involving deceased donors, more than double the number performed each year when the OPTN was established in the late 1980s. A number of factors have contributed to this trend. These include an increase in organ donors and organs recovered per donor for transplant, new forms of transplantation (such as intestinal organs and vascularized composite allografts) introduced in more recent years, improvements in OPTN systems and policies that have increased the efficiency of organ placement.
The U.S. transplant network is a worldwide model that has influenced the development of similar systems in many countries.