Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Qualifications For Living Donors

Further to the previous post about 9 month old Kailey Simmons of Barrie, Ontario needing a liver transplant, there have been many questions about who can be a living donor and what organs are suitable for living donation. Several transplant recipients wanted to know if they would be eligible to donate part of their liver to Kailey. The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) covers these issues extensively in their fact sheet and the following is an excerpt.

To inquire about Kailey's situation in Ontario, call The Living Donor Liver Transplant Assessment Office at 416-340-4800, ex 6581.

Qualifications for Living Donors

In order to qualify as a living donor, an individual must be physically fit, in good general health, and free from high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, and heart disease. Individuals considered for living donation are usually between 18-60 years of age. Gender and race are not factors in determining a successful match.

The living donor must first undergo a blood test to determine blood type compatibility with the recipient.

As with any major operation there are risks involvoved in Living Donation.

Please read the complete overview at OPTN.

Organ Types for Living Donation

Living donor transplants are a viable alternative for patients in need of new organs. Many different types of organs can be delivered by living donors, including:

  • kidney
    This is the most frequent type of living organ donation. For the donor, there is little risk in living with one kidney because the remaining kidney compensates to do the work of both kidneys.

  • liver
    Individuals can donate segments of the liver, which has the ability to regenerate the segment that was donated and regain full function.

  • lung
    Although lung lobes do not regenerate, individuals can donate a lobe of one lung.

  • pancreas
    Individuals can also donate a portion of the pancreas. Like the lung, the pancreas does not regenerate, but donors usually have no problems with reduced function.

  • intestine
    Although very rare, it is possible to donate a portion of your intestine.

  • heart
    A domino transplant makes some heart-lung recipients living heart donors. When a patient receives a heart-lung "bloc" from a deceased donor, his or her healthy heart may be given to an individual waiting for a heart transplant. This procedure is used when physicians determine that the deceased donor lungs will function best if they are used in conjunction with the deceased donor heart.

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