UW Organ Transplant, Donation Programs Have Another Record Year

The UW Organ Transplant Program and UW Organ and Tissue Donation followed up on one of their busiest years on record with another record-breaking year.


In 2017, the UW Transplant Program performed 568 transplants in total, including the most liver transplants ever (125) in the program’s 51 year history. Additionally, the pancreas program completed 57 transplants and retained its position as the largest pancreas program in the country, while the kidney program recorded the second most transplants (332) since 2006.


“Our life-saving mission could not be accomplished without the incredible commitment of our surgeons, internists, nurses, and entire support staff, as well as the truly impressive and innovative efforts of donor hospitals and UW Organ and Tissue Donation,” said Dr. Dixon B. Kaufman, chief of the UW Transplant Program. “But most importantly, none of this would have been possible without the generosity of donors and their families, whose selfless decisions to give the gift of life express an act of kindness beyond words.”


In 2017, UW Organ and Tissue Donation (UW OTD)—widely considered to be one of the most successful organ procurement organizations in the country—served 150 deceased donors and their families, matching the record number of families they served in 2016. Additionally, UW OTD reached an 89 percent regulatory conversion rate—a measure of the medically eligible donors who became actual donors (the average national regulatory conversion rate is 77 percent). As a result, 463 organs were recovered, giving 388 individuals a second chance at life.

“The number of lives that were saved this past year is a testament to the compassionate care provided by the dedicated staff at UW OTD and our hospital partners around the state and the region,” said Michael Anderson, executive director of UW OTD. “But as always, it is the donors and their families who are the true heroes in this story, and we are reminded time and again of how these incredible acts of generosity, made during a family’s darkest hour, can bring light and life to so many.”


The increased number of transplants in Wisconsin reflects a national trend which during 2017 saw the number of deceased organ donors in the United States top 10,000 for the first time, according to preliminary data from United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). For the year, organs were recovered from 10,281 donors, representing a 3.1 percent increase over 2016 and an increase of 27 percent since 2007.


Approximately 82 percent (28,587) of the transplants performed nationwide in 2017 involved organs from deceased donors. Living donor transplants accounted for the remaining 18 percent (6,181). In the 30-year span from 1988 (the first full year national transplant data were collected) through 2017, a total of 721,742 transplants have been performed nationwide.


Despite these promising numbers, nearly 115,000 people nationally are waiting for a lifesaving transplant, including more than 2,000 people right here in Wisconsin.


Anyone 15 ½ or older can register to be an organ, tissue and eye donor at the Wisconsin DMV or online at DonateLifeWisconsin.org.

Date Published: 02/09/2018

News tag(s):  transplantorgan donationdixon b kaufman

News RSS Feed