Preparing for a Transplant
Other factors that affect your chance of having a
successful organ transplant include:
- The age of the donor organ. In general, the
younger the organ donor, the healthier the tissue. But recent research is
challenging this thought. It may be that some older organs work just as well as
- The length of time that the donor organ is out of
the donor's body. The more quickly an organ is transplanted after it is removed
from the donor, the more viable the organ tissue remains. Your team will make
every effort to quickly transfer the donor organ.
- How well the
organ was preserved just before transplantation. The donor organ must be
properly preserved while it is being transferred, especially if it was
transferred from a long distance. Your team will make every effort to make sure
the donor organ is properly transferred to your location.
What else should I consider?
You may be worried
about having an organ transplant, being in a transplant center or hospital, or
being around medical equipment or doctors. You may have concerns that you will
not survive the surgery. All are normal concerns. Most people who have
had an organ transplant say that it was a good decision and that the surgery
and lifelong use of medicines and lifestyle changes are worth it.
The quality of your life can greatly improve. You should have more energy
soon after your transplant. You may enjoy physical activities or foods that you
haven't been able to enjoy in a long time. After having a transplant, you may
feel better than you have in years-many people report feeling better
immediately after their transplant, even while recovering from the
It is always wise to have an
advance directive on file with the transplant center
or hospital where you will receive care. An advance directive provides
instructions about your medical choices should you be unable to make those
choices for yourself. It is a good idea to appoint a
health care agent to make your health decisions if you
are unable to communicate your wishes. For more information, see the topics
Writing an Advance Directive and
Choosing a Health Care Agent.
It is true
that there is a risk of not surviving an organ transplant just as there is with
any surgery. There is also a slight risk that your transplanted organ will not
function immediately. Some people with kidney transplants from deceased donors
require dialysis for a week or more before the kidney functions adequately.
Only a few transplanted organs never function. If the donated organ does not
work well after your transplant or if it stops working over the years, it may
be possible for you to have another organ transplant.
decision to have an organ transplant can be hard. Talking with someone who
has had an organ transplant may assure you that you can make the lifestyle
changes necessary for a long-lasting, successful transplant.