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JAMA Patient Page
January 9/16, 2008

Organ Donation

JAMA. 2008;299(2):244. doi:10.1001/jama.299.2.244

Organ transplantation can be lifesaving for patients with organ failure. Thousands of those patients may die because there are not enough donated organs to meet the demand. The main factor limiting organ donation is that less than half of the families of potential donors consent to donation. The January 9/16, 2008, issue of JAMA includes an article reporting on disparities in access to organ transplantation between rural and urban populations. This Patient Page is updated from one published in the July 4, 2001, issue of JAMA.

Many organs can be donated, including heart, intestines, kidneys, liver, lungs, and pancreas. Tissues that can be donated include corneas, heart valves, and skin. Donations may be used in people who have organ failure, who are blind, or who have severe burns or serious diseases. If you wish, you may specify which organs and tissues you would like to donate. While you are alive, you may donate a kidney or part of your liver to a specific matched patient.