Organ Transplants: Understanding the Statistics

In 2019, there were a total of nearly 154,000 organ transplants worldwide. This surprisingly high number is only a small part of the entire story. In the U.S. alone, more than 100,000 men, women and children are waiting for lifesaving organ transplants – with more than 80% of these waiting for kidneys. Regardless of age, the lifetime probability of needing a transplant for males is approximately twice that of females.

Estimated number of organ transplantations worldwide in 2019:

Kidney    100,097

Liver         35,784

Heart          8,722

Lung           6,800

Pancreas   2,323

Because kidneys are the most transplanted organ, let’s use these to understand how a person with fairly common health concerns can, over time, require an organ transplant. What are the causes?

  • Diabetes –Continuously high blood sugar can damage the filters in the kidneys, leading to long-term kidney damage and kidney failure.
  • High blood pressure or hypertension –High blood pressure in the tiny blood vessels that lead to the kidneys damage the organ and prevent the filtering process from working properly.
  • Arterial blockages to the kidneys are called renal artery stenosis.
  • Polycystic kidney disease – An inherited condition where large cysts or hollow spaces formed within the kidney make its normal functioning difficult.
  • Congenital problems in kidney development.
  • Diseases of the immune system, such as Lupus.

When end stage organ failure necessitates a transplant, the emotional and economic impact can be devastating. If not properly ensured, the astronomically high costs for saving a loved one can bankrupt an entire family. Consider these charges:


Transplant Costs in the U.S.

Estimated Billed Charges

Heart                                                      $1,382,400

Lung (Single)                                         $   861,700

Liver                                                       $   812,500

Kidney                                                    $   414,800

Pancreas                                                $   347,000

VUMI® Global Flex VIP plans bring the incredible peace of mind of knowing that should a transplant become a medical necessity, your family finances will be protected. Our VUMI® Global Flex VIP plans also cover the donor’s organ extraction cost plus the full cost of the insured member getting the organ, leaving the family to focus on the patient’s recovery, and not have the additional stress of wondering how and if they can cover such a complex procedure.

Source: Statistica 2021; National Foundation for Transplants

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