Deceased Donor Transplant

The majority of kidneys and livers — and all hearts — that are transplanted come from deceased organ donors. These donors are adults who have become critically ill and are pronounced dead because their brain or heart has stopped working permanently.

These organ donors are adults or children who have become critically ill (often due to an accidental injury) and have died as a result of their illness. If the donor is an adult, he or she may have agreed to be an organ donor before becoming ill. Parents or spouses can also agree to donate a relative's organs. Donors can come from any part of the U.S.

Organs for deceased-donor transplants are allocated by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). UNOS maintains waiting lists of people in need of organ transplants, exchanging data with hospitals across the country to ensure that all people on the waiting list are judged fairly on the basis of the severity of their illness and the associated urgency of their need for a transplant.

Liver Transplant

A liver transplant is recommended for individuals who have serious liver dysfunction and will not be able to live without having the liver replaced. The most common liver disease for which transplants are done is viral hepatitis-induced cirrhosis. Other diseases may include the following:

  • Acute hepatic necrosis or fulminant liver failure
  • Biliary atresia and other congenital disorders
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Liver cancers or bile duct cancer
  • Autoimmune hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis, or sclerosing cholangitis
  • Liver damage from overdose of medications toxic to the liver, such as acetaminophen

An individual receiving a transplant may either get a whole liver, or a segment of one. If an adult liver is available and is an appropriate match for two individuals on the waiting list, the donor liver can be divided into two segments and each part is transplanted one for the adult and one for a child.

Kidney Transplant

A kidney transplant is recommended for people who have end-stage kidney disease and will not be able to live without dialysis or a transplant. In the U.S., the most common cause of end-stage kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. there are also many other causes of end-stage kidney disease. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

Heart Transplant

Heart transplantation is performed to replace a failing heart that cannot be adequately treated by other means. Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, or CHF, is a condition that occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood sufficiently. Despite its name, a diagnosis of heart failure does not mean the heart is about to stop beating. The term "failure" refers to the fact that the heart muscle is failing to pump blood in the normal manner because it has become weakened.

End-stage heart failure is a disease in which the heart muscle is failing severely in its attempt to pump blood through the body, and in which all other available treatments are no longer helping to improve the heart's function. End-stage heart failure is the final stage of heart failure.

Technologies for Deceased Donor Transplant

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What to Expect for Deceased Donor Transplant

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Side Effects and Risk Factors for Deceased Donor Transplant

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Education and Resources for Deceased Donor Transplant

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