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Sweeping Changes to the New Donor Heart Allocation...How Can I Prepare?

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Emily Stimpson, MSN, RN, CCTC
Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center
Los Angeles, CA USA

In 2017 there were 3,244 heart transplants performed in the United States according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN). Currently there are 3,999 people awaiting heart transplant as of January 29, 2018 per OPTN website. Unfortunately, there are more people waiting for donor hearts than there are organs available. With longer waiting times and increased mortality on the heart transplant waiting list, the Thoracic Organ Transplantation Committee was charged to propose modifications to its current allocation policy. Currently the donor heart allocation is operating on a 3-tier system. Recently it has been announced that heart allocation will go to a 6-tier system.

While there is no definitive set date for the implemented changes, we are anxiously awaiting an announcement with the exact details. It may be of benefit to prepare for what considerations and actions need to be taken for programs affected by these policy modifications.

In order to ensure a seamless transition each center will have to identify what additional measures must be taken to accommodate the new donor heart allocation system.

Program considerations:

Disclosure Statement: The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.


  1. https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/data/view-data-reports/national-data/#
  2. https://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/governance/public-comment/modify-adult-heart-allocation-2016-2nd-round/

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