A human-to-human transplantation of cells, tissues or organs.

General Information:
These transplants have become increasingly successful with advances in immunosuppressive/anti-rejection drugs and surgical techniques, but the demand for transplantations exceeds the supply of human organs.
Organs cannot be harvested from everyone in every case. The person must still be alive, but be brain dead in order to donate organs. They must also have healthy organs and cannot have HIV or AIDS. Their next of kin must also agree to the organ transplantation.
Some tissues, which do not need as much blood circulation, can be harvested from cadavers. This is called cadaveric transplantation.

Tissues That Can Be Donated:
  • corneas from eyes
  • heart valves
  • bones
  • skin
  • islet cells from the pancreas
  • bone marrow (living donor)

  • Organs That Can Be Transplanted:
  • heart
  • liver
  • kidneys
  • lungs
  • bowel
  • stomach
  • pancreas

  • Other Transplantables:
  • hand
  • blood (blood transfusion)

  • Who Gets Transplants?
    Transplants are given to patients who's organ or tissue is permanently damaged and no longer functions, or who's organs are deteriorating and loosing function.
    People of all ages are considered for transplants, but elderly patients with other chronic problems are unlikely candidates unless they are the only one with correct blood type, etc.
    Sick children are often considered first for transplantations since they often have healthy bodies. The only problem being that the organs is too big. Non smokers and non drinks are also high on the list as they are less likely to damage transplanted organs, and have higher survival rates.
    People with diseases such as Hepatitis may receive organs, but usually from donors who had the same condition. Those with HIV and AIDS never receive organs as performing a surgery on them is considered dangerous, and since they are chronically ill they are the least likely to benefit from the transplant.
    Middle aged (40-65) people make up the largest group receiving transplants.

    These misconceptions stem mostly from lack of education. Many people don't believe that brain death is death, because they can see their loved one breathing. In many areas people have the belief that if they sign their organ donor's card that the hospital won't try to save them and will instead let them die so they can take their organs. The Truth:
    Brain death is the end. There is no recovery from brain death, and the body soon follows. It is a struggle for doctors to keep a brain dead patient alive, as their blood pressure, heart beat and other vitals become erratic.
    Signing your donor card does not mean any doctor will take less time or effort in caring for you. In fact your donor card is not enough for the hospital to take organs, they must also have consent from the next of kin. This is why it is important to talk to your family about your wishes.

    Solutions to Organ Shortage:
    Xenotransplantation -- animal-to-human
    Living donor -- people can donate parts of their liver, bowel or lung, one kidney, or bone marrow.

    Wearing a green ribbon shows support for organ donation and transplantation.

    Reference: http://www.lhsc.on.ca/transplant/

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