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Organ Transplant

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Overview

What is an organ transplant?

An organ transplant replaces a failing organ with a healthy organ from another person. Organs most often transplanted are:

More than one organ can be transplanted at one time. For example, a heart and lung transplant is possible.

Who can get a transplant?

Not everyone is a good candidate for an organ transplant. Your doctor or a transplant center will do tests to see if you are. You probably are not a good candidate if you have an infection, heart disease that is not under control, a drug or alcohol problem, or another serious health problem.

If your tests show you are a good candidate, you are put on a waiting list.

How successful are organ transplants?

Transplants are more successful today than ever before. Organ transplant success depends on:

  • Which organ is transplanted.
  • How many organs are transplanted. For example, you could have a heart transplant or a heart and lung transplant.
  • The disease that has caused your organ to fail.

How do you prepare for an organ transplant?

First, you'll need to have blood and tissue tests done that will be used to match you with a donor. This is because your immune system may see the new organ as foreign and reject it. The more matches you have with the donor, the more likely your body will accept the donor organ.

You'll also need to take care of your health. Continue to take your medicines as prescribed and get regular blood tests. Follow your doctor's directions for eating and exercising. You also may want to talk with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed mental health counselor about your transplant.

To learn more about what happens, talk to someone who has had a transplant. Your transplant center or doctor can give you the name of someone who is willing to share his or her experience with you.

You may have to wait days, months, or years for your transplant. Be patient, and ask your doctor what you can do while you're waiting.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 03, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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