Proposed heart allocation rule aims to cut deaths among people on transplant wait list

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | Luis Fábregas

Transplant policymakers want to change the way donor hearts are allocated for transplantation, saying new distribution rules could reduce the number of people who die on the waiting list.

A proposal made public this week by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network and United Network for Organ Sharing would broaden the geographic regions where candidates get offers for hearts and expand the listing categories that a patient can fall into when listed.

“The goals of our proposal were really to reduce the wait list mortality rates and particularly among the most urgent adult heart transplant candidates,” Dr. Joseph Rogers, chair of the OPTN/UNOS thoracic organ transplantation committee, said Wednesday. The committee is overseeing the proposed rule.

Rogers said the committee was motivated by the desire to identify people at the highest need “for this scarce resource.” More than 4,200 people nationwide are on the heart transplant wait list, according to UNOS data. In 2015, 350 people died while waiting for a heart, data show. Continue reading