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Organ Transplant Waiting List

Getting on the organ transplant waiting list

When a patient is accepted as a transplant candidate, his or her name will be added to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) national waiting list for donated organs. The UNOS list is strictly regulated and criteria have been developed to ensure that all people on the waiting list are judged fairly as to the severity of their illness and the urgency of receiving a transplant. The waiting period for an organ varies.

Factors that Affect the Waiting Time for an Organ Include:

  • Whether or not a living organ donor is available
  • Type of organ needed
  • Length of time on the organ transplant waiting list
  • Blood type
  • The tissue match between the organ donor and organ recipient
  • Geographic distance between the organ donor and potential organ recipient
  • Size of the donor organ compared to the size of the potential organ recipient

Factors Affecting the Liver Transplant Waiting List

  • Your place on the liver waiting list is determined by your model for end-stage liver disease (MELD) score. This score roughly correlates with the severity of liver disease, ranging from
  • The lab tests used are the bilirubin, creatinine, and INR. As your lab results change, so will your MELD score. As you become sicker and in greater need of a transplant, your MELD score will increase, and lab tests will be done more often. A higher MELD score will result in higher placement on the list, thus resulting in a higher priority for a transplant.
  • When a liver becomes available, the patient with the highest MELD score within the same or compatible blood group will be offered the organ. Unlike other organ transplants, the liver recipient and the liver donor do not have to be a perfect match. There are, however, certain conditions that must be met.
  • If you require a liver and kidney transplant, both organs will come from the same donor once you have been called for the transplant.

Kidney Donation Through Living Organ Donation

If an organ transplant candidate is in need of a kidney, he or she may receive a kidney through living organ donation if a healthy related or matching donor is found.

While You are on the Organ Waiting List

  • Keep your contact information current with The Transplant Institute at Methodist Dallas so we can notify you when an organ is available.
  • Keep up with your lab work and testing.
  • Stay healthy and work on improving your health to help prevent complications.
  • Keep your doctor and your transplant coordinator apprised of changes in your health.

For more information about the factors that may affect your waiting period on the UNOS list, talk to a representative at The Transplant Institute at Methodist Dallas.