6 Of The Top Organ Transplants Of Today

According to the United Network for Sharing Organs (UNOS), between January 1, 1988, and June 30, 2016, an estimated 669,556 organs were transplanted in the United States. However, there are still not enough organs available for those requiring them. Currently, 120,139 individuals require life-saving organ transplants with no certain way of getting them.

This article will cover the six most common single-organ transplants in order of decreasing frequency.


The kidneys are the most commonly transported organ. In 2011, there were 5772 living-donor transplants and 11,835 deceased-donor kidney transplants. Kidney transplantation treats individuals with kidney failure and end-stage renal disease.

For the most part, kidney transplants are more successful than dialysis and increase life expectancy.


As with kidneys and kidney transplantation, livers can come from live donors. Deceased organ liver donations usually come from brain-dead donors younger than 60. However, the deceased donor must meet certain criteria, including no liver damage due to trauma or diseases like hepatitis.

Liver transplantation is often offered to people with irreversible liver disease without further medical or surgical treatment options.


In 1967, the first heart transplant was conducted in Cape Town, South Africa, by a surgeon named Dr. Christian Barnard. Although technologically impressive, early heart transplants didn’t prolong survival in a significant way.

For instance, Barnard’s patient lived only 18 days after receiving a new heart. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in 2012, the five-year survival rate was 76.8 percent.


Ever since 1985, 40,000 lung transplants have been performed worldwide. Lung transplantation is conducted in people with end-stage lung disease that isn’t cancerous.

Typically, lungs are procured from deceased donors with complete brain failure (brain death). However, between 15 and 20 percent of such donors possess lungs suitable for transplant.


In 1966, William Kelly and Richard Lillehei performed the first pancreas transplant at the University of Minnesota. Since then, over 25,000 pancreas transplants have been performed in the United States and more than 35,000 worldwide.


Transplantation of the intestine is a complex procedure. In recent years, this procedure has gained popularity in treating short bowel syndrome, wherein people can’t absorb enough water, calories, fat, and protein.

Typically, people who receive intestine transplants experience intestinal failure and require total parenteral nutrition (TPN).


Organ transplants might be difficult to get, but they can also be significantly life-saving. If you require a transplant procedure, you can speak with your healthcare provider for more information.