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The Waiting List

Once you or your child’s name has been placed on the waiting list for a new heart, it may take several months to locate the right one.

The “waiting list” is actually a nationwide computerized network called UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing), to which all transplant centers in the United States belong. UNOS, which is supervised by the federal government, helps to ensure that patients throughout the country receive healthy organs as soon as they become available. Priority is given to patients who are the sickest, and those who have waited
the longest. If you or your child is sick enough to require intensive care, UNOS will assign the highest priority-Status I (A or B). As soon as UNOS tells your transplant team that the appropriate heart has become available, the team will let you know immediately.

All patients awaiting organ transplantation are registered and listed nationally with UNOS. Local and regional lists may also be accessed from this master list. For example: a local list may include patients from several hospitals within a geographic area that is “covered” by one organ-procurement organization; the larger regional list may include all patients in several counties or even several states. In Michigan, the Transplant Society of Michigan (TSM) manages that local list.

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