An Overview of Organ Transplantation

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Transplantation is a process that involves the transfer of human cells, tissues, or organs from the donor to a recipient. Organ transplantation is a surgical procedure which involves the removal of the damaged or injured organ from the recipient and replacement with a new functioning one. The different types of organ transplantation are heart, liver, lungs, kidney, intestine, and pancreas.

Go on reading to find out the types of organ transplant, organ donors, and its types.

  • Heart transplant: Heart is the hardest working muscle, which pumps blood throughout the body. People with heart diseases such as coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy or weakening of heart muscle may need a heart transplant.
  •  Kidney transplant: Kidney’s function is to remove wastes from the body, filter the blood, control the electrolyte balance, and regulate blood pressure. Kidney transplant becomes necessary due to inherited kidney disease such as poly cystic kidney disease. Diabetes and high blood pressure are also common cause of the kidney failure which makes transplantation necessary.
  •  Liver transplant: The liver functions to break down harmful substances, detoxify the body, and production of bile for digestion. Any viral infection, genetic disorders or even alcoholism may result in liver failure which leads to the necessity of liver transplantation (the diseased liver is removed and replaced with a healthy one).
  •  Lung transplant: A person can live a normal life, if the lung functions at least 30 percent. People with severe lung diseases such cystic fibrosis, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and emphysema in advanced stages may require lung transplant.
  • Pancreas transplant: The pancreas is a gland located just behind the stomach. It produces juice or enzymes that help in the breakdown of food. It also releases the hormone, insulin that helps to control blood sugar levels. People who have pancreas-related problems such as pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas, genetic disorder, cystic fibrosis, and pancreatic cancer may require pancreas transplant.
  •  Intestine transplant: This kind of transplant is rare and is usually done in combination with liver, stomach, and pancreas. People who have short bowel syndrome (caused by lack of function of the small intestine) may need an intestine transplant.

Organ donation is a process that involves the donation of organs to a living recipient (who is in need of a transplant). There are two types of organ donors such as:

  • Living donor– The living donor is the person decides to donate his or her organ to the person who in need of a transplant. Living donors have to undergo some medical testing as suggested by the doctors to be selected as the suitable donor.
  • Deceased donor-Deceased donors are those whose organs are harvested once they become brain-dead. For this type of transplant, the recipient has to wait till the suitable organ based on the recipient medical profile is available.

After removing the organ from the body, it is stored in a chemical solution. Before transplantation, the donated organ would be stored under controlled conditions, depending upon the varying time length of the organ such as a heart for 4-6 hours, liver for 12-24 hours, kidneys for 48-72 hours, and lung for 4-6 hours.

Before organ transplant, the doctor would suggests some medical test for checking the medical compatibility with donor.

The doctor would suggest taking some precautions after the surgery such as:

  • To avoid taking certain foods
  • To limit alcohol consumption and smoking

The doctor would suggest follow-up check-up to monitor the proper functioning of the organ. The person may lead a normal and healthy lifestyle after the organ transplant.


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