Waiting time for kidney transplant in US

Wait time for kidney transplant ranges from few months to 10 years across US, averaging 4.5 years. Some patients receive transplants earlier than needed ( a plausible scenario is a patient with a slow kidney disease progression living in the mid-west which has been put on the list with 20% kidney function); while others die waiting or become too ill to receive a transplant. Approximately get removed from the waiting list annually, with only 17,000 patients receiving transplants.

My goal with this web site is to provide information which transplant center to list at to help kidney failure patients and perhaps, some day help myself, find a kidney transplant center that would offer the best chance to receive a kidney transplant.


Wait times depends on several factors.

OPO to transplant centers zoning

Some OPOs (Organ Procurement Organizations) are zoned to serve only just 1-3 transplant hospitals, while other OPOs serve 10 or more transplant centers. University of Wisconsin in Madison, UPMC in Pittsburgh, Davis in Sacramento are transplant centers with the shorter wait then the surrounding areas due to being sectioned out to a separate OPO.

Got organs, but no procurement

Wyoming, Idaho and Montana do not have transplant centers despite high organ donor signed up rate in those states. While the 3 states have 1.5 million designated donors combined, organs go unused due to lack of organ procurement infrastructure and trained doctors there.

OPO efficiency variation

While OPO efficiency is hard to measure, there are several factors contributing to OPO performance.

Transplant professionals often discuss overperforming and underperforming OPOs. Perhaps Nebraska Organ Recovery System OPO, Nebraska is 4 times as efficient as neighbouring Donor Alliance OPO, serving Colorado: The number of potential donors in Colorado is over 4 times greater than Nebraska's (Colorado's 3,000,000 to Nebraska's 701,293); while the number of kidney cadaveric transplants carried out in 2014 in Colorado is just 20% higher then in Nebraska. (Colorado's 131 to Nebraska's 105).

Multi-listing might reduce viable kidneys discard

According to OPTN, cadaveric kidneys did not get transplanted in 2011 because a recipient could not be found in time.
If there are more patients registered across multiple centers, a better chance exists to match the donor's kidney to recipient within the required time without compromising the quality of the donor's kidney.


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