Transplant Waiting Lists Weigh Variety Of Factors And Are Frequently ReadjustedWhen Colby Salerno received a heart transplant earlier this week, he was one of 26 people in the state waiting for a new heart, and one of more than 3,000 in the U.S.
Exactly when someone on a waiting list for an organ transplant receives a new organ depends on a lot more than just where they are on that list.
Joel Newman, a spokesman for the United Network for Organ Sharing, said a number of factors are involved and are calculated by computer, which frequently readjusts the lists.
"It is an algorithm," he said. "When information does come in, there's the matter of location, blood type, body size and other biological factors."
Geography is also considered. Rather than ship an organ from 1,000 miles away, as sometimes happens, it's preferable if the organ is nearby.
The United Network for Organ Sharing compiles the list nationwide and makes recommendations to various transplant programs in Connecticut and around the country. Newman stressed that UNOS serves only an advisory role. Once all the factors are presented, he said, it's still up to the transplant surgery team of a hospital to make the final decision.
Salerno, 24, of Cheshire, spent 166 days in Hartford Hospital's 10th-floor intensive care unit before that algorithm put him at the top of the list.
Read more: http://www.courant.com/health/connecticut/hc-organ-transplant-lists-0601-20120531,0,693161.story