An organ transplant can replace an organ that is failing. Transplants can be done on livers, kidneys, hearts, lungs, and the small intestine. There are times when a double organ transplant will be required, such as heart/lung.
A liver transplant will be needed when the liver goes into failure. This can be caused by illness such as hepatitis. It can also be caused by cirrohsis of the liver. Certain medications can also cause liver failure.
A kidney transplant will be needed when the kidneys are affected by diseases such as diabetes, polycystic kidney disease, or lupus. If one kidney is transplanted, it can be done by what is called live organ donation. In this case, a living person gives one kidney to another person with bad ones. We can live with one kidney so this will work. A living donor may include a family member, friend or coworker or anyone willing to give a kidney. A kidney from someone who has died can also be used. In either case, the kidney will have to be the perfect match to work. This is why family members are usually the best candidates as donors in live donations.
A lung transplant is a treatment for diseases that have destroyed most of the function of the lungs. For people with severe lung disease, a transplant can help them have easier breathing and provide better years of life. This surgery has some major risks and complications can be common. A person with end-stage lung disease can be considered for a lung transplant. The procedure should be considered when no other option is available. It can also be considered when lung disease is so severe they can no longer have a good life.
A transplant of any kind involves testing and blood work to find out if the patient is healthy enough otherwise for it. If there are underlying health issues, a transplant will not be considered.
Age of the patient will not be a factor in an organ transplant. People of all ages receive organ transplants every year due to the conditions mentioned above. Sometimes children are born with conditions that make it necessary to give them a new organ early in life. Most will go on to live a healthy life.
After transplant care is very important. It will involve blood work done on a regular schedule as well as an antirejection drug to be taken for the rest of your life. A liver coordinator will be assigned and will be the go-between for the patient and the dr. The coordinator will monitor lab results and contact the patient if medication or other changes are needed.