FEATUR ES | Breaking the Silence: Organ Transplantation
Many medical conditions can lead to the need for an organ transplant. Kidney failure is most commonly linked to chronic high blood pressure and diabetes. Liver failure is not always the result of excessive alcohol use. It can also be due to hepatitis, viral infection, injection of a poisonous substance, or genetic disorders. A heart transplant may be needed due to weakened heart muscles (cardiomyopathy) resulting from coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, abnormal heart rhythms (ventricular arrhythmias), or congenital heart defects. Lung transplantation may be needed for a variety of conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, or sarcoidosis of the lung. A pancreas transplant — sometimes alongside a kidney transplant — may be needed for certain patients with diabetes. The impact of being a donor is far reaching. One person can donate up to eight lifesaving organs: heart, liver, pancreas, two lungs, two kidneys, and intestines. In addition, donated tissues — including skin, bone, veins, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments, as well as the cornea, middle ear, and heart valves — can save or dramatically improve the quality of life for their recipients. As an organ or tissue donor, your generosity can have a remarkable effect on the lives of up to 50 people.
What is a living donor? About 40 percent of donated organs come from living donors — typically a relative or friend of the patient. With so many people on the waiting lists, a living donor can shorten wait times significantly and improve transplant outcomes. For example, a kidney from a living donor lasts longer than one from a deceased donor. And even if a willing donor is not a good match with a loved one, the hospital can coordinate an organ exchange or organ chain to pair up compatible donors and recipients.
Published on Feb 1, 2018