This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.
It’s one thing to say that organ transplants are hard to come by. It’s another thing to consider that a intestinal transplant costs $1,147,300 on average.
Consulting firm Milliman tallies the average costs of different organ transplants in the U.S. And while most are expensive—some are very expensive. A kidney transplant runs just over $400,000. The cost for the average heart transplant, on the other hand, can approach $1.4 million.
Cost is only part of the problem though. Even if the U.S. healthcare system and individual patients are able to pay, availability is extremely limited. More than 116,000 Americans are waiting to receive a transplant, and about 20 die each day during the wait.
New breakthroughs, though, could reduce both wait times and expenses. This summer researchers made strides on processes that could eventually allow pig organs (with are biologically similar to ours) to be transplanted in humans, which would theoretically radically increase availability and decrease cost. Some researchers estimate that such transplants could be available within two years.
A version of this article appears in the Sept. 15, 2017 issue of Fortune.
Mind & Body – Health.com