heart transplant display

Heart transplant patient Jennifer Sutton admires her old heart at the Wellcome Collection's Heart Exhibition in London. She donated her heart to promote awareness about organ donation and restrictive cardiomyopathy -- a disease that nearly killed her.

SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images

Organ Donation Statistics

Let's take a closer look at the different organs that can be donated and examine the organ donation statistics for each one. There are six organs that can be donated and transplanted:

1.  Kidney -- The functioning lifespan of a transplanted kidney is about nine years. Of all organs, kidneys are most in demand and the most frequently donated [source: LifeShare]. Most diseases that affect the kidneys affect both at the same time, so a living donor is generally not at a greater health risk with only one kidney.

  • Number of people added to list between July 2006 and June 2007: 33,981
  • Total number of people on kidney waiting list as of June 2007: 73,850
  • Number of deceased-donor transplants between July 2006 and June 2007: 10,571
  • Number of living-donor transplants between July 2006 and June 2007: 6,164
  • Mortality rate while waiting for kidney: 7 percent [source: SRTR].

2.  Liver -- The liver is necessary for vitamin storage, removing waste from blood and digestion.

  • Number of people added to list between July 2006 and June 2007: 10,887
  • Total number of people on kidney waiting list as of June 2007: 17,142
  • Number of deceased-donor transplants between July 2006 and June 2007: 6,274
  • Number of living-donor transplants between July 2006 and June 2007: 258
  • Mortality rate while waiting for liver: 13 percent [source: SRTR] .

3.  Heart -- A heart will beat about 2.5 billion times in the course of an average lifetime. Once removed from the donor's body, a heart can only survive for about four hours.

  • Number of people added to list between July 2006 and June 2007: 3,011
  • Total number of people on heart waiting list as of June 2007: 2,673
  • Number of deceased-donor transplants between July 2006 and June 2007: 2,224
  • Mortality rate while waiting for heart: 15 percent [source: SRTR]

4.  Lungs -- Single or double-lung transplants can be performed. Additionally, living donors can donate a single lobe from the lungs, though it will not regenerate.

  • Number of people added to list between July 2006 and June 2007: 1,886
  • Total number of people on lung waiting list as of June 2007: 2,743
  • Number of deceased-donor transplants between July 2006 and June 2007: 1,391
  • Number of living-donor transplants between July 2006 and June 2007: 4
  • Mortality rate while waiting for lung: 12 percent [source: SRTR]

5.  Pancreas -- It's possible to make a living donation of a portion of the pancreas and still retain pancreas functionality.

  • Number of people added to list between July 2006 and June 2007: 827
  • Total number of people on pancreas waiting list as of June 2007: 1,570
  • Number of deceased-donor transplants between July 2006 and June 2007: 449
  • Mortality rate while waiting for pancreas: 4 percent [source: SRTR].

6.  Intestine -- Although quite rare, a living donor can donate a portion of the intestine.

  • Number of people added to list between July 2006 and June 2007: 299
  • Total number of people on intestine waiting list as of June 2007: 231
  • Number of deceased-donor transplants between July 2006 and June 2007): 180
  • Mortality rate while waiting for intestine: 22 percent [source: SRTR].

Now that we know more about the organs that can be donated, in the next section we'll see just how recyclable a human body is.