From Jim Gilliam's blog archives
Running the numbers

January 19, 2006 10:22 PM

Now that i'm on the lung transplant wait list, the big unknown is simply... when?

There are three factors at play in getting the lungs:

1. Blood Type (must be O)
2. Location (must be within about 4 hours of Los Angeles)
3. Size (must be big enough for me -- I'm 6'9")

There are UNOS statistics on the number of O blood type lung transplants for each state, so I can take those numbers and the percentage of the population as a whole that is over a certain height to get a probability of when the exact right person will, uh, expire.

The average yearly # of lung transplants of blood type O within about 500 miles of Los Angeles is 79, and within about 1500 miles, it's 194. Nationwide it is 510.. slightly less than half of all lung transplants are blood type O.

The % of the U.S. population 6'4" and taller is 0.3%, expanding the pool to 6'3" increases it to 0.7%.

Bottom line: there's anywhere from a 24% to 136% chance that I will get the transplant this year, depending on the assumptions. Looked at another way, it's 9 months to 4 years of waiting. It's really really unlikely I can survive four years.

Of course, the right lung could show up tomorrow or my analysis could be completely flawed. I'm going to bring it up with Dr. Lynch at my next appointment. The biggest factor that changes this is the size of the lung. How big does it really have to be?

More from the archive in My Health.

Running the numbers (01.19.2006)

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Read the 5 comments.


still praying!

Fri Jan 20 2006 11:04 AM


Wow, never realized you were so tall... I hope you get what you need before it's too late...

Fri Jan 20 2006 7:28 PM

QueenBitch:'re a giant! :)

Sat Jan 21 2006 5:06 AM


I'm amazed that you found enough data to do these calculations.

Sun Jan 22 2006 1:25 AM


"Size (must be big enough for me -- I'm 6'9")" thought you were taller.

Wed Jan 25 2006 8:56 AM

Jim Gilliam
Jim Gilliam


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