ARORA provides hope to those in need through organ and tissue recovery

The Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency (ARORA) was established in 1987 as a non-profit, independent organ procurement agency. ARORA is headquartered in Little Rock, with a satellite office in northwest Arkansas located in Fayetteville. Serving 64 counties in the state, ARORA is managed by an executive director who reports to a board of directors. ARORA is also served by an Advisory Council, consisting of transplant surgeons, related physicians, donor family members, transplant recipients, hospital administrators and public representatives.

ARORA’s mission is to make every effort to provide organs and tissues for life-saving and life-enhancing transplantation. This goal will be accomplished through continuous hospital involvement, which includes hospital training. ARORA also encourages community involvement by providing public education. The staff strives to be ethical and professional while coordinating donor recovery, and provides dignity, honor and respect to both donor families and recipients.

As part of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), ARORA is certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and receives fees for medical services provided through Medicare as well as transplant hospitals.

There are three organ transplant centers in Arkansas: Arkansas Children's Hospital, Baptist Medical Center and UAMS, all located in Little Rock. Arkansas Childern's Hospital performs heart and kidney transplants; Baptist Medical Center performs heart transplants; and UAMS performs kidney and liver transplants. Surgical centers throughout the state perform tissue transplants, including bone, skin, and cornea grafts.

Despite widespread support for organ donation, a severe shortage in the number of organs donated exists. More than 118,000 Americans are on a waiting list for a kidney, heart, liver or other vital organ, and another person is added to that list every 16 minutes. Statistics reveal an average of 18 individuals will die each day while waiting for an available organ. Estimates indicate that more than 25,000 Americans die each year under circumstances that would allow them to become organ donors, but an average of only about 5,000 a year actually donate.

Research indicates the primary reason for not donating is lack of education about the subject. A single, multi-organ donor can provide as many as seven organs—heart, liver, two kidneys, two lungs, and pancreas, for transplantation—as well as tissue, including corneas, heart valves, skin and bone. Less than one per cent of all deaths are potential organ donors, which also greatly limits the number of organs available for transplant.

No form of therapy has had as dramatic an effect on the course of terminal illness as has organ and tissue transplantation. Since 1988, more than 336,000 kidney transplants have been performed annually across the United States with a success rate of 95 percent. In 2012 there were more than 28,000 organ transplants and more than 450,000 tissue transplants. Each transplant procedure, over the past several years, has shown an increase in not only the number of cases performed each year, but in the success rate as well.

Any person may actually be considered for organ and tissue donation. Age limits exist for some tissues but no age limit exists for organs.

There are many concerns and questions the public has about organ donation. For this reason, ARORA provides free educational materials and also conducts informative presentations at no cost to any size business or civic or social group. Church and school presentations can also be arranged.

For more information about ARORA, please contact the Public Education Department at 1-501-907-9150, or 1-866-660-5433.