Keys to A Successful Organ Transplant
19th November, 2018
Organ donation is an incredible, altruistic act which can save or improve the lives of many people through just one person’s decision. It is one of the most incredible successes in the realm of modern medicine.
What is Organ Transplantation?
Organ Transplantation is the only treatment for end-stage organ failure. It involves surgically removing a healthy organ from a donor and transplanting it into a recipient whose organ might have failed or irreversibly damaged. The list of organs and tissues that can be transplanted are:
• Bone Marrow
• Middle Ear
• Connective Tissue
• Vascularized composite allografts, including face and hand transplantation.
Among these, kidney and liver transplantation are the most frequently performed transplantations in the world. Any person who is over the age of 18 can voluntarily pledge to donate his/her organs for someone in need. Of course, some medical conditions like cancer, HIV, hepatitis C, diabetes, kidney disease or heart diseases can prevent one from becoming a living donor. Usually, the organ to be transplanted is sourced from the bodies of deceased persons. Sometimes, even living persons can donate an organ or at least a part of it, especially in the case of kidney and liver transplantation. Of course, in order to eliminate the possible risks, rigorous selection procedures are adhered to, including carefully performed surgical procedures and adequate follow up of the donor in order to prevent any untoward consequence.
• Preparation: From the time a person actually registers for a transplantation to the time he/she is called for surgery is the most crucial time to get ready physically, mentally and financially. It is advisable to have an honest talk with the organ transplant team to get into the mindset. You might also be required to make significant lifestyle changes, including losing weight, quitting smoking, etc. You’d also want to know how much advance notice you’re going to get that a suitable organ has been found. This varies depending on the organ, your health condition and various other factors. This time can also be utilized to ask questions to your doctor regarding the benefits, possible risks, the waiting list, duration of hospital stay, travelling limitations, follow-up tests and the success rate.
• At the hospital: Your transplant team will inclide a transplant surgeon and a transplant doctor, besides a host of other members like a transplant coordinator, ICU specialist, pharmacist, dietitian, psychiatrist, social worker, nurses and others. The duration of the transplant varies from organ to organ. For example, a liver transplant may take about 5 to 8 hours, while a pancreas can be transplanted in 2-4 hours. After the surgery, the patient is admitted in a critical care unit for recovery, which may take about 4 to 10 days depending on various factors. It is important to keep in mind the medications that need to be taken and other recommendations of the doctor such as possible side-effects.
• After the transplant: While an organ transplant does result in a substantially improved quality of life, there are also some formidable challenges facing the patient. The recipient will need to take immunosuppressant drugs which will prevent the body’s immune system from attacking the donor organ considering it to be a foreign body. It is also vital to stick to the doctor’s appointments, taking the prescribed drugs and undergoing the required lab tests. There might be certain side-effects such as hair loss, acne, weight gain, high blood pressure and sugar levels, infection etc.
What is Organ Rejection?
Organ transplant rejection is the process in which the recipient’s immune system attacks the transplanted organ or tissue. This happens because a normal immune system is capable of distinguishing foreign agents and can misconstrue the donor organ as one such agent, thus mounting an attack in order to destroy them, just as it would react to bacteria and viruses. These harmful agents are coated with antigen proteins. When the donor organ is transplanted, the recipient’s immune system may recognize that the antigens on the cells of the donated organ do not match and this can trigger a blood transfusion reaction or organ rejection.
There are some steps that can be taken to prevent organ rejection, although they’re not fool-proof. The doctors match the blood and tissue type of the donor and the recipient to get the best match possible. Another measure is to use immunosuppressant drugs to prevent an immune response in the recipient’s body.
The three types of organ rejection are :
• Hyperacute Rejection: This occurs almost immediately after a transplant when the antigens are completely unmatched. This usually occurs if the blood type is mismatched. In this case, the transplanted organ or tissue must be removed immediately.
• Acute Rejection: This happens to a certain extent in almost all cases and can occur one week to three months after a transplant.
• Chronic Rejection: This takes place over a long period of time due to the constant effort of the recipient’s immune response system.
The symptoms of organ rejection are:
• The organ’s function starts deteriorating over time
• Pain and swelling
• General discomfort
• Chills, nausea, body ache etc.
Tips for a successful organ transplant
There are some methods to ensure a successful organ transplant:
• Ensuring as close a match as possible between the donor and the recipient, including blood and tissue types
• Following the doctor’s prescriptions with regard to lifestyle modifications, intake of medications, regular follow-ups etc.
• Taking immunosuppressant drugs without fail.
• Keeping yourself fit and healthy after the transplant
Why Manipal International?
Manipal International is a renowned multi-speciality hospital equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure, skilled and experienced healthcare professionals and a dedicated paramedic and nursing support staff. With our emphasis on clinical excellence and patient-centric approach, we endeavour to provide top-class healthcare services to the people at affordable rates. Manipal International also has a dedicated organ transplant team with highly experienced doctors cutting across specialities with expertise in all the aspects of transplantation providing the best possible treatment for the people.