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Organ Donation and American Indians/Alaska Natives

Although American Indians and Alaska Natives account for 1% of patients on the organ transplant waiting list, they suffer from disproportionately high rates of diabetes and heart related diseases. Alcoholism is also prevalent among American Indians/Alaska Natives, and in turn they face higher rates of cirrhosis and other liver diseases. These conditions are known to put the patient at risk for organ failures.

  • The number of organ transplants performed on American Indians/Alaska Natives in 2015 was 20 percent of the number of American Indians/Alaska Natives currently waiting for a transplant. The number of transplants performed on white Americans was 31% of the number currently waiting.
  • While about 1% of the total candidates currently waiting for transplants are American Indian/Alaska Native, they comprised 0.5% of organ donors in 2015.
  • 30 percent of the organs recovered from American Indian/Alaska Natives came from living donors.
  • American Indian/Alaska Natives are more likely to develop a case of hepatitis C, as compared to the White population, a cause of liver failure.
U.S. Transplant Waiting List – Candidates by Race/Ethnicity

Organ
All Candidates
# of AI/AN candidates
AI/AN % of all candidates
# of White candidates
White % of all candidates
All Organs
131,347
1,237
0.9%
55,224
42.0%
Kidney
107,473
1,056
1.0%
39,377
36.6%
Liver
15,021
138
0.9%
10,196
67.9%
Heart
4,145
11
0.3%
2,553
61.6%
Lung
1,446
6
0.4%
1,129
78.1%

Source:  HRSA U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of July 12, 2016.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/*

 

Transplants Performed in the U.S. by Recipient Ethnicity, 2015

 
Number
% of total 2012 transplants
AI/AN
252
0.8%
White
17,179
55.5%
Total Transplants
40,969
100%

Source:  HRSA U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of July 12, 2016.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/

 

U.S. Organ Donors Recovered, 2015

Donor Type
of all donors
# of AI/AN donors
AI/AN % of all donors
# of White donors
White % of all donors
Living
5,989
21
0.4%
4,197
70.1%
Deceased
9,079
48
0.5%
5,966
65.7%
Total
15,068
69
0.5%
10,163
67.4%

Source:  HRSA U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of July 12, 2016.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/

* OPTN data is updated monthly. The OMHRC data & statistics for this section will be updated biannually.

Last Modified: 9/15/2017 10:57:00 AM