Monday, September 25, 2006

Statistics, anyone?

Hi everyone:

From time to time, I visit the website for the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which is the body responsible for distribution of all donor organs in the U.S. The site includes a comprehensive database of statistics on all transplants performed (or to be performed.) I derive some comfort and optimism from seeing evidence that things have worked out for other people, even if in this instance the proof is in numerical form.

Often, friends ask us, "Where does Patty stand on the list?" Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that question, in large part because Patty's antibodies are a huge factor in her candidacy for transplant. To be honest, unless Patty's PRA comes down, she could be #1 on any list and still wouldn't be a viable transplant candidate.

That doesn't mean, however, that we aren't inclined to research some of the numbers at play. So, for those of you who may be interested, here's some of what we dug up this evening:


  • currently there are 2,865 people awaiting hearts nationwide; 932 are Status 1B, which is the same as Patty. More than half on the list are presently inactive, so the first number is somewhat bloated
  • 261 people are awaiting heart transplants in this region, which includes Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota. This is the region from which Patty's heart would likely come; in fact, with the need to perform a crossmatch on any prospective donor (because of antibodies), it is likely any donor she would get right now would be limited to the Chicagoland area
  • of the 261 candidates in the region, 50 are in Patty's age group, 35-49, and 24 have blood type B; Patty is one of 7 females in the entire region who is type B
  • of the 261 candidates, 11 people have a transplant need status of 1A, 34 are Status 1B (like Patty) and 92 are Status 2
  • of the 34 who share Status 1B with Patty, 10 are female
  • currently, there are 10 people awaiting a heart at University of Chicago -- five male and five female
  • each year in this region, approximately 175-200 donor hearts are made available
  • in 2006 so far, 99 hearts have been donated in this region -- 27 were from motor vehicle accident, 12 were from homicide, 6 were from suicide and the rest were from other reasons
  • the University of Chicago Hospital has performed 173 heart transplants since 2000, of whom 38 were women and 29 were blood type B (6 of the 38 women were type B)

There is only so much that one can really draw from statistics, since each person's circumstances are somewhat unique -- and Patty's seem to be more unique than most. But it's still a way to pass some time while waiting for a heart.

Love,
Brian

P.S. The photo has no relevance to the topic of this blog entry, other than that Patty took the photo while I was drafting this entry and she wanted it on the blog.

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