Organ Transplants: What You Need to Know
But organ transplants is also a major surgery that carries potential risks and drawbacks, such as the chance of organ rejection. That’s precisely why you and your loved ones need to gather as much information as possible on organ transplants, as soon as possible.
Organ Transplants: An Overview
In the United States, 9 types of organ transplants are now performed, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a nonprofit organization in Richmond Va. UNOS administers the country’s only Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, which includes the organ transplant waiting list.
Organ transplants include kidney, pancreas, liver, heart, lung, and intestine. Vascularized composite allografts (VCAs), are now also possible, including face and hand transplantation. Sometimes, “double” transplants are done, such as kidney/pancreas or heart/lung.
Depending on the organ needed, organs are matched using several characteristics, including blood type and size of the organ needed. Also taken into account is how long someone has been on the waiting list, how sick they are, and the distance between the donor and the potential recipient.
You Need an Organ Transplant: What’s Next?
Once your doctor gives you the news, they will typically refer you to an organ transplant center.
You aren’t bound to go to the recommended center, says Gigi Spicer, RN, vice president of transplant services for Tulane Health System in New Orleans. This is the point at which you as a potential transplant recipient have to become very proactive, even if you’re still reeling from the news.
You can get specific reports on centers nationwide by visiting the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients website. Included in the reports are waiting times, number of living vs. deceased donors, survival rates, and other facts.
The statistics can get complicated, so you should ask your own doctor or the facility to help you interpret them.
It is important, says Spicer, to educate yourself about your disease as much as you can and gather as much information as possible on organ transplants, so that you are an informed patient.
Getting on the Organ Transplant Waiting List
To get on the national transplant waiting list, UNOS tells potential recipients, contact the transplant hospital you and your doctor have decided on and ask for an appointment. You will be evaluated by the organ transplant team, which will take into account your medical history, current health status, and other variables to see if you are indeed a good candidate for the transplant.
UNOS keeps a running total of the transplant waiting lists in the entire nation, organ by organ, on its website and updates it regularly. As of September 2019, about 113,000 people were on the waiting list nationwide for organs of all types.
Organ Transplant Waiting Times, Policies, Procedures
The average wait time for an organ transplant varies by organ, age, blood type, and other factors. For instance, waiting times can reach seven to 10 years for candidates waiting for deceased kidney organ donors.
New federal rules that tightened standards for the centers took effect in June 2007. Among other requirements, the centers are now required to perform an average of 10 transplants a year, with some exceptions allowed, to keep federal funding.
UNOS distributes the organs first locally. But if no match is found, the organ is offered to a good match regionally and then nationally, if necessary.
What Are Your Organ Donor Options?
You also may have a choice about whether the organ donor is deceased or living.
But even if the blood types are not compatible, you may be able to find a program that allows proxy donors. This is when someone who doesn’t match the intended donor can still donate the organ for someone else’s use, and the intended donor goes to the top of the transplant list.
Another possibility is called paired kidney exchange in which recipients who have donors that are not compatible can enter programs where they are able to “swap” donors.
Those who need a transplant often ask if they can buy an organ. The answer is simple: No. In the United States, it is a felony to buy an organ.
Though other countries allow the sale of organs, a doctor practicing in the U.S. would not place that organ, Spicer says.
Gathering Information on Organ Transplants
Depending on the organ being transplanted, you can get other help from a variety of organizations. UNOS has on its site an exhaustive list, from national organizations such as the American Heart Association, America Kidney Foundation and American Liver Foundation to state organizations such as the Georgia Transplant Foundation.
There’s a wide array of information on organ transplants available to you. You can be an integral part of your care by tapping into these resources.
Disclaimer : This article has been taken from https://www.webmd.com/ as it is. Click here to read original article.