When I think “transplant,” for whatever reason, “heart transplant” pops in my head, as if that’s the norm. But in reality? Only 2.8% of patients in need of transplants are looking for a new heart. While about 80%–an overwhelming majority–need kidneys.
It’s a practical piece of information conveyed by this infographic from Good and Column Five. Whereas we all know that organ wait times are bad, it charts all sorts of aspects of transplants that I’d never considered–that people of different age groups tend to need different organs, and that some people actually do get organ transplants relatively quickly.
In fact, some extremely simple visualizations show that you’re about as likely to get a heart transplant within 60 days as you are to wait three or more years (though the average wait is one to two years). And, as you might suspect, a vast majority of people waiting for transplants are over 50.
And as for those kidneys, our need for them only grows over time. Only infants will need organs more than kidneys. Then, as the bar graphs show, kidney demand quickly supersedes all else. So by the time someone reaches 65, not only are they competing with fellow seniors for replacement parts, but every other age group, too.
So what began as a surprising figure–that 8/10 people in line for transplants are waiting on kidneys–now seems inevitable, a narrative told to me in graphs. And it’s a bit frightening, too, since all of us have two kidneys to start with.
[Hat tip: Visual News]