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TRANSPLANT WAIT GROWS LONGER

More and more hospitals are performing heart transplants, but waiting lists are getting longer because of a continuing organ shortage, a new survey says.

A report by the General Accounting Office for Rep. Fortney H. "Pete" Stark, D-Calif., found that 109 hospitals in the United States performed 1,529 heart transplants in the year ending Sept. 30, 1988. But because of a shortage of usable hearts, 929 patients were waiting for a transplant, many for up to a year.

Of those receiving transplants, 84 percent were white, 8 percent black, 2 percent Hispanic and 6 percent "other," the GAO found. Three quarters were male, and three fifths were older than 45. Average charge for a transplant was $115,000, paid in most cases by insurance.

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