When an organ ceases to function properly, a doctor will refer his or her patient to a transplant center. The specialists at a transplant center qualify a person's candidacy for the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN) administered by UNOS. There are regularly more than 100,000 people on the OPTN waiting list. How long a person remains on the list depends on the organ he or she needs, the immediacy of the need, and the availability of matching donor organs. Priority is often granted to cases of acute organ failure and people determined to have a high probability of success and survival.
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