Organ transplant involves the replacement of a patient’s (recipient) ailing organ with a well functioning organ from some who has died (donor). The recipients of the organ have to be matched with the donors to reduce the incidences of rejection. The first successful organ transplant was a kidney transplant and it was performed in Boston in1954 by Dr. Joseph Murray The organ from the donor is entirely removed and transported to the recipient quickly. The organs are preserved in a special solution while it is being transported to the recipient. The most common organ transplants include Heart, Cornea, and Kidney transplants. Transplanting process involves complex events which are coordinated medical professionals in hospitals and organ procurement organizations (UNOS 5).
The matching of the recipient and the donor organs is based on a number of factors and characteristics. These include weight, height, tissue type, blood type, size of the organ, the relative distance between the recipient and the donor, age and the level of the immune-system match between the recipient and the donor (UNOS 9). The matching process entails a number of steps: First, a potential donor is identified and the genetic and medical reports are sent to the UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) which then creates a list of potential recipients .The transplanting centre is given a notification concerning an available organ, and the team responsible for the transplant considers the organ for the recipient, thus the organ is either accepted or declined by the transplant team. Proper matching of the organs will help in reducing the chances of the organ rejection by the recipient’s body (Thomas 14).
Once an organ match has been found, the donor of the organ is then taken to the operating room where the organ will recovered through a surgical procedure. While the organ recovery process is taking place, the recipient is then called for the final preparations before the transplant by the surgeons responsible for the transplant. Upon the arrival of the organ at the transplant hospital, the recipient is taken to the theatre and the transplant is performed (UNOS 15).
Consideration for some form of treatment to the organ recipient is necessary to help in preventing organ rejection and infection. The anti- rejection drugs used are known as immunosuppressant drugs (Thomas 14). These drugs reduce the risks of organ rejection, protecting the transplanted organ and preserving its functions. These drugs block the immune system so that it minimizes the chances of reaction against the new organ in the body. These drugs can be categorized according to their functions. The main types of these drugs include Cyclosporins (prevents the T cells from attacking the new organ), Azathioprines (disrupts cell division and the synthesis of RNA and DNA) and Corticosteroids (suppresses the inflammation associated with rejection).
Organ rejection occurs when the recipient’s immune system attacks the newly transplanted organ. An organ that was not correctly matched can cause the rejection. The rejection signs depend on the type of the organ (Thomas 14). There are three categories of rejection:
This type of rejection occurs when the recipient receives a wrong blood type. It normally occurs immediately after the transplant and the organ or the tissue must be removed immediately because the recipient will die (Thomas 14).
It happens any time between the initial week and three months after the transplant.
This type of rejection happens many years after the transplant. The response from the body’s immunity system damages the new organ slowly.
Organ transplanting helps in saving many lives globally, and this does not only gain the recipient but also the friends, family and the community. Besides, the bereaving donor families may gain comfort if they choose to donate, knowing that it has the life of another person. However, the transplanting technology has some negative effects on the recipients because he or she will find it devastating to find out that his or her life majorly depends on artificial support.
Peters, Thomas. “Transplant Drugs: Medicines That Prevent Rejection.” American association of
kidney patients. Nov. 2003: 14. Print.
United Network for Organ Sharing. What every patient needs to know. Virginia: UNOS, 2012.