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November 12, 2019

Optimizing the Use of Heart Transplant in the United States

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California
  • 2Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California
JAMA. 2019;322(18):1772-1774. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.16002

More than 7300 individuals are on waiting lists for heart transplant in the United States during the course of a year, yet only about 3200 transplants are performed annually,1 with a waiting list mortality rate of 10% between 2015 and 2017.1 This unacceptably high waiting list mortality is due, in part, to a shortage of suitable donor organs. Because the need for donor hearts continues to exceed supply, the optimal distribution of available organs remains a challenge. Ideally, donor hearts would be allocated to patients who would benefit most from transplant, thereby ensuring maximal gains in survival and quality of life.