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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Minority Health

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Organ Donation and American Indians/Alaska Natives

Although American Indians and Alaska Natives account for about 1 percent 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 (AI/AN), and in turn, they face higher rates of cirrhosis and other liver diseases. These conditions are known to put patients at risk for organ failures. In 2018, American Indians/Alaska Natives made up 0.9 percent of the national population.

  • The number of organ transplants performed on American Indians/Alaska Natives in 2019 was 27 percent of the number of American Indians/Alaska Natives currently waiting for a transplant. The number of transplants performed on white Americans was 47.6 percent of the number currently waiting.
  • While about 1 percent of the total candidates currently waiting for transplants are American Indian/Alaska Native, they comprised 0.4 percent of organ donors in 2019.
  • 28.8 percent of the organs recovered from American Indians/Alaska Natives came from living donors.
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives are more likely to develop a case of hepatitis C than 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 112,258 1,001 0.9 45,441 40.5
Kidney 94,458 880 0.9 33,680 35.7
Liver 12,647 104 0.8 8,497 67.2
Heart 3,686 11 0.3 2,140 58.1
Lung 1,309 10 0.8 918 70.1

Source: HRSA. U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of February 20, 2020.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/*

 

Transplants Performed in the U.S. by Recipient Ethnicity, 2019
  Number Percentage of Total 2019 Transplants
AI/AN 271 0.7
White 21,648 54.5
Total Transplants 39,718 100

Source: HRSA. U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of February 20, 2020.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/

 

U.S. Organ Donors Recovered, 2019
Donor Type # of All Donors # of AI/AN Donors AI/AN % of All Donors # of White Donors White % of All Donors
Living 7,381 23 0.3 5,269 71.4
Deceased 11,870 57 0.5 7,784 65.6
Total 19,251 80 0.4 13,053 67.8

Source: HRSA. U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of February 20, 2020.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/

 

U.S. Organ Donors Recovered, 2019
Donor Type # of AI/AN Donors % of AI/AN Donors # of White Donors % of White Donors
Living 23 28.8 5,269 40.4
Deceased 57 71.3 7,784 59.6
Total 80 100 13,053 100

Source: HRSA. U.S. Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Based on OPTN data as of February 20, 2020.
https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/

 

* OPTN data is updated monthly online. The data and statistics for this section will be updated annually.

Last Modified: 3/4/2020 8:54:00 AM