Have a Heart – Organ Donation has Set New Records in Indiana

Have a Heart – Organ Donation has Set New Records in Indiana

It’s simply amazing how many lives can be positively impacted by one individual that decides to be an organ donor. According to the Indiana Donor Network, “One organ donor can save eight lives. One tissue donor can heal more than 75 others. One cornea donor can restore sight to two people.” Organ donation is a choice that makes a huge difference for others, and it’s one that more and more Hoosiers are deciding to make.

Lately, organ donations have been on the rise in Indiana, setting new records. Last year saw the largest number of donations and lives saved in the 37-year history of Indiana Donor Network, which is our state’s federally designated organ recovery organization and an accredited tissue bank.

In 2023, there were 1,134 transplants of donated organs that were used to save 989 lives. That represents a 17% increase in annual transplants compared to 2022. This number has trended steadily upward every year since 2016, when 606 lifesaving organs were transplanted.

“The selflessness and generosity of organ and tissue donors and their families gives patients in need of a transplant a second chance at life,” said Indiana Donor Network President and CEO Kellie Tremain. “This is our eighth consecutive year of executing high performance and unwavering commitment to donors and transplant recipients. We are dedicated to saving lives through carefully caring for our donors’ gifts and honoring their decisions by ensuring the needs of patients awaiting transplant are met.”


High Tech Transplants

Innovative technological advancements played a big role in increasing the number of successful transplants last year. For example, the Indiana Donor Network said that it utilized 12 kidney perfusion pumps for 501 transplant surgeries.

Kidney perfusion pumps are a kind of transport system for kidneys. As explained by the donor network, these pumps are a relatively new technology utilized in operating rooms during organ recovery and during transport of a donated kidney to an awaiting transplant center. This technology is able to keep donated kidneys functioning outside the body, allowing the organ’s temperature and vascular performance to be monitored and increasing a kidney’s viability for successful transplant.

Similar new technology is also being used to transport livers. The FDA authorized a continued access study with four Midwest transplant centers last year, and the Indiana Donor Network was one of them.

Our state’s first use of liver perfusion technology occurred in a transplant last fall at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The technology now awaits FDA approval for broad clinical use of the throughout the U.S. Officials expect it will further increase the number of successful transplants in Indiana.

“We as an organization emphasize innovation and implementing new technology to ensure that more donated organs are available for those in need of lifesaving transplants,” Tremain said. “Organ perfusion technology has helped us significantly expand our donor base and coordinate more transplants for more patients.”


Quality of Life

Bodily donations aren’t just used to save lives. Very often, they’re used to enhance the quality of life for individuals living with various conditions. There are a multitude of ways that donations help. For example, last year there were about 1,393 tissue and cornea donors that resulted in 16,154 viable tissues that were used to heal individuals. More than 12,000 of these were bone and connective tissues, including ligaments and tendons.

Additionally, there were 181 heart valves, another all-time record for the organization, as well as tissue grafts from 1,158 skin donors, and 494 corneas.

“What makes our tissue milestones even more remarkable is our unwavering commitment to quality,” Tremain said. “Despite handling a huge number of recoveries, we have maintained a remarkable 0.16% recovery error rate for tissue donations. This is no small feat.”


Inspiring Hope

Currently, more than 4.4 million Hoosiers have signed up to become organ donors. That’s pretty close to 2 out of every 3 Indiana residents, based on population figures. And while the backlog of those waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant is still very long (over 103,000 people nationally, including more than 1,200 Hoosiers), this upward trend of transplant success stories is an inspiring source of hope. The more this trend grows, the more lives will be saved or treated through the generosity of those who choose to donate.

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Category Features, Health