Fewer Hearts Accepted for Transplant
Transplant centers and surgeons are accepting only 1 in 3 donated hearts for use in patients, a new study shows. Rejection also rates vary by region, the study found. The authors say this shows there are no clear standards for which organs can be used. Using more of the donated organs could reduce lengthy heart-transplant waiting lists. The study was based on data from transplant registries. Use of donor hearts for actual transplants fell from 44% in 1995 to 32% in 2010, the study found. New England states reported higher acceptance rates than other areas. States in the South, Mid-Atlantic and Pacific Northwest had much lower rates. Reasons for the lower overall use of donated hearts are unclear. But several changes may be factors. Compared with the '90s, people who donate hearts are a bit older. They also are more likely to have high blood pressure or diabetes.