A Few Questions Answered for Living Organ Donors

Why can not most organ donors be organ donors? 

Organ donors must be required to die in a hospital. Donors in brain death must die, in particular, in Critical Care units that have the technical means necessary to artificially maintain pulmonary ventilation and donor circulation. When all legal criteria for brain death are met, it is possible to declare and certify the death of a person who maintains blood circulation and the functioning of some organs because he is connected to an artificial respirator and receives the necessary medication to maintain cardiac function (vasopressor medication) .

living organ donor

The diagnosis of brain death requires that three doctors, other than those who will participate in the extraction or transplant, Check for complete absence of brain response by examination of trunk-brain reflexes and instrumental demonstration of complete destruction of the brain. In these circumstances, the organs remain perfused and oxygenated until the moment of extraction in the operating room. With these requirements can only be organ donors between 1 and 2% of all those killed in a hospital.

In asystole donors, the death is due to an irreversible cardiorespiratory arrest despite advanced resuscitation maneuvers. In these cases the perfusion of some organs is maintained until the moment of the extraction by means of perfusion and cooling with the aid of a sophisticated technology.

What changes in the external appearance causes the extraction of organs? 

Surgery that allows the removal of organs from a deceased person for transplantation is performed in a regulated manner in the operating room as other operations of gallbladder, appendicitis or heart and always with the utmost respect to the body of the deceased. After removal of organs, the external appearance of the deceased does not change appreciably and only a sutured scar remains on the skin of the thorax and abdomen.

In the case of tissue donors such as corneas or bones, prostheses are placed to recover volume or firmness after extraction.

How long does the removal of organs last? 

The extraction of organs has a variable duration depending on the type and characteristics of donated organs and tissues. Usually it oscillates between 3 and 6 hours.

How long can the organs removed be kept before the transplant? 

It depends on the conditions of the donor and the type of organ. The kidney can be kept in good condition, kept cold, up to thirty-six hours. Heart and lungs can only be maintained for about six hours. Liver and pancreas arrive up to about twelve hours. But, in any case, one should try to keep the extracted organ waiting to be implanted in the shortest possible time.

The tissues have different maintenance, some of which can be frozen and kept viable for years; Such is bone, ligaments, cartilage and skin. The corneas are valid for transplantation up to ten days, provided they have been kept in the appropriate medium and at 4º C. The bone marrow can also be frozen and preserved for periods ranging from days to weeks.

These intervals are very important, because they limit the time available to select the best receiver from all who wait, which is sometimes found in other hospitals thousands of miles away.

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