Key Facts

  • In the United States, the most commonly transplanted organs are the kidney, liver, heart, lungs, pancreas and intestines. On any given day there are around 100,000 people on the active waiting list for organs, but only approximately 14,000 deceased organ donors in 2021, with each providing on average 3.5 organs. Living donors provide on average only around 6,000 organs per year.

  • In the U.S, the most commonly transplanted tissues are bones, tendons, ligaments, skin, heart valves, blood vessels and corneas. Around 3.3 million tissue grafts are distributed each year. About 2.5 million grafts are transplanted.

  • While some organ transplantations are life-saving procedures, serious illness, graft loss and death can occur from undetected infections in donor organs and tissues. Although infrequent, infectious pathogens (such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, or protozoa/parasites) have been unknowingly transmitted through transplants (such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C, rabies virus, (Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis)) and (Balamuthia mandrillaris).

  • Laboratory testing for certain infectious pathogens is required in deceased organ and tissue donors and living donors (i.e., human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses,  syphilis,  CMV, EBV).