Organ transplants are one of the most phenomenal accomplishments in the medicine industry. But they entirely depend upon the magnanimity of donors along with their families who are devoted to take this life-saving step for the happiness of others.
You would be surprised to know that you can save up to eight lives after your death through organ donation and improve the lives of over a hundred other people through tissue donation. To make a decision whether you wish to become a donor post your death or not is a personal choice and it is very important that every individual takes his or her own decision without any pressure.
The following information will help you gain a better understanding about organs that can be donated after death:
A kidney donation can provide an improved life to the one who is suffering from end-stage renal failure (ESRF). This condition is achieved when the kidneys fail to function normally. It is also required for patients suffering from blood pressure, cystic kidney or diabetes. It has been proved that transplantation of kidneys has enhanced survival rates and provided quality life to patients as compared to dialysis.
Kidneys are the most commonly transplanted organ and the most needed ones too. Generally the kidneys can be preserved for 36 hours outside the body before being transplanted into a recipient.
A complex organ, Liver performs more than 500 known functions inside the body. Medical conditions that make liver transplantations a necessary option include birth defects in the bile or liver duct or chronic liver defects such as hepatitis. Drug abuse or excessive alcohol damage or the patients in the last stage of liver diseases also require liver transplantation. About 86% of cases have reported normal functioning of the transplanted livers even a year after the surgery.
A liver can be preserved outside the body for about 4 – 16 hours before being transplanted into the recipient. Sometimes a donated liver is split between two recipients, where one donor serves to be the source of two transplants.
The hardest working muscle of the body, the Heart beats about 60-80 times every minute as it pumps blood all through the body. Heart transplants are required for people suffering from severe heart failure caused by cardiomyopathy or coronary heart disease and who fail to respond to medication therapy anymore.
Before being transplanted in to a recipient, the heart can be preserved for 4 – 6 hours outside the body.
Lungs can be injured by chronic ailments including cystic fibrosis – where the lungs get blocked with thick and sticky mucous or other respiratory conditions like pulmonary hypertension, pulmonary edema, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which results due to chain smoking.
Patients are generally considered for lung transplantations when the normal functioning of their lungs can no longer be restored by medication therapy or surgery. Lungs can be preserved for 4 – 6 hours before being transplanted into a patient. Here again, a single donor can be a source of two distinct lung transplants.
2. Small Bowel
A small bowel transplant commonly known as the intestinal transplant is recommended if there is insufficient bowel left for nutrition absorption – a condition referred as short bowel syndrome and also when the patient is suffering from a difficulty with total parental nutrition (TPN) – a condition where nutrition is given intravenously.
Generally the Small Bowel transplants are carried along with pancreas and liver transplants, known as multivisceral transplants. These transplants are fairly uncommon and are typically performed on infants and small children. Intestines can be stored for as long as 8 – 6 hours outside the body before being transplanted into the recipient.
Pancreas function to control the insulin levels inside the body and are generally transplanted along with the kidney as diabetes usually damages both these organs together. A pancreatic transplant is the only treatment capable of restoring complete insulin independence along with restoring the blood sugar levels in the patients suffering from Type 1 Diabetes.
Transplantation of pancreas is also considered for patients suffering from pancreatic failure. The pancreas can be stored outside the body for about 2 – 14 hours before being transplanted into the recipient.