WEDNESDAY, Feb. 6, 2019 (HealthDay News) — More than 70,000 lives were lost to drug overdoses in the United States in 2017. Now, some of those touched by these tragedies might take a little comfort knowing their loved one’s heart helped save a life.
Nearly 18 percent of hearts recovered for organ transplant in 2017 came from people who had died of drug intoxication. That number was up from 1.5 percent in 1999.
“Over the last two decades, we have seen a tripling from death rates from drug intoxication. At the same time, the number of organs has increased 12-fold, which shows that attitudes about whether [these organs] are viable have also started to change, with the most change in the last five years,” said study senior author Dr. Mandeep Mehra. He is the medical director of the Heart and Vascular Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.