Organ Donation and Utilization in the United States, 1999–2008


  • Note on sources: The articles in this report are based on the reference tables in the 2009 OPTN/SRTR Annual Report. Table numbers are noted in brackets and may be found online at:

* Corresponding author: Andrew S. Klein,


Despite the Organ Donation Breakthrough Collaborative's work to engage the transplant community and the suggested positive impact from these efforts, availability of transplanted organs over the past 5 years has declined. Living kidney, liver and lung donations declined from 2004 to 2008. Living liver donors in 2008 dropped to less than 50% of the peak (524) in 2001. There were more living donors that were older and who were unrelated to the recipient. Percentages of living donors from racial minorities remained unchanged over the past 5 years, but percentages of Hispanic/Latino and Asian donors increased, and African American donors decreased. The OPTN/UNOS Living Donor Transplant Committee restructured to enfranchise organ donors and recipients, and to seek their perspectives on living donor transplantation. In 2008, for the first time in OPTN history, deceased donor organs decreased compared to the prior year. Except for lung donors, deceased organ donation fell from 2007 to 2008. Donation after cardiac death (DCD) has accounted for a nearly 10-fold increase in kidney donors from 1999 to 2008. Use of livers from DCD donors declined in 2008 to 2005 levels. Understanding health risks associated with the transplantation of organs from ‘high-risk’ donors has received increased scrutiny.