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Conveying useful healthcare system information, including for organ donation and transplantation, as well as a social media emphasis.

Monday, March 12, 2012

An important task for Transplant surgeons. Helping piece together the picture for every donor organ.

Transplantation involves the surgical removal of the organ(s) from a donor-who is either living or deceased- and then surgically implanting each precious organ into the designated recipient.

Do you know that there are many steps in the organ donation process that are all critical for deciding on whether or not a donor's organ(s) can go on to be transplanted? Transplant surgeons are very much involved in this process of assessing the suitability of the donor organs for transplantation.

Are you aware of instances where individuals were unable to be live kidney donors? Do you know of occasions where organ donation was not able to go ahead from a potential deceased donor (i.e.after death) in hospital, due to there being medical concerns?

Being able to assess each organ donor for their 'medical suitability' to donate one or more organs is one of the essential parts of the downstream transplant process. Although general information on organ donation is available via the Internet for eg, this website from the United States of America more specific information on the In's and out's of organ donation, may not be  easily located unless you know where to find it, eg from the United Kingdom

There are many pieces of information (see below image), that have to be obtained for each and every organ donor as to whether they are suitable to donate an organ (as a live donor) or multiple organs(after death). This whole process is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, with the final two pieces (bottom right hand of the image), made up of what the surgeons discover at the time of the actual organ retrieval surgery. As most of the pieces of the jigsaw are put together prior to the retrieval surgery, this helps explain why not all donors proceed to the operating room. However, information obtained by surgeons during the retrieval surgery is often critical to the final decision as to whether or not a particular organ can be actually used for transplantation.

Legend- DCD: Donation after Cardio-Circulatory Death; DBD: Donation after Brain Death; NAT: Nucleic Acid Testing

Of note as rates of organ donation do vary between countries as outlined in this report from the WHO Transplant observatory particularly for deceased donors, it is important to place this information into the context of where you live. However, as you can see transplant surgeons are very much involved in the assessing of the donor organs for transplantation!
Image designed by Deb Verran 2012: acknowledgement Presentation magazine