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- The trachea or windpipe carries air to the lungs. The alveoli (tiny air sacs similar to folded balloons) extract oxygen and exchange it for carbon dioxide.
- A single lung can save a life. One donor can be the source of two lung transplants.
- Some conditions that could necessitate a lung transplant are cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, emphysema and pulmonary edema.
- Lungs have a preservation time of up to 4-8 hours.
- The body's hardest working muscle, the heart beats 60-80 times each minute as it pumps blood throughout the body.
- Some conditions that can make a transplant necessary are cardiomyopathy, heart failure, myocarditis and heart disease.
- Hearts can be preserved for up to 4-6 hours before they must be transplanted
- The liver is a complex organ that has more than 500 known functions. It breaks down harmful substances in the blood, produces bile that aids in digestion and stores vitamins, sugars and fats.
- A donated liver can sometimes be split between two recipients, so one donor can be the source of two liver transplants.
- Some conditions that could necessitate a liver transplant are birth defects of the liver or bile duct, chronic liver infections like hepatitis, or drug and alcohol damage.
- Livers have a preservation time of up to 12-15 hours
- The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that helps the body use glucose (sugar) for energy, and enzymes that break down fat, protein and carbohydrates during digestion.
- The pancreas controls the level of glucose in the blood. It is often transplanted with a kidney, because diabetes affects both organs.
- The pancreas can be preserved for 12-24 hours
- The kidneys filter wastes and excess water from the blood and balance the body's fluids.
- While waiting for a kidney transplant, many patients undergo dialysis to remove toxins out of their blood.
- Some conditions that could make a kidney transplant necessary are high blood pressure, diabetes and cystic kidney disease.
- Ethnic minorities are four times more likely to develop kidney failure.
- Kidneys are the most commonly transplanted organ and most needed.
- Kidneys can be preserved up to 24-48 hours
- The intestines digest food and absorb nutrients into the blood stream.
- Most intestinal transplants are performed on infants and children.
- Some conditions that could make a transplant necessary are twisted or blocked intestines or short-gut syndrome.
- Intestines can be preserved for 6-10 hours
- Corneas are needed to restore the sight to those that have lost their vision.
- The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped window covering the front of the eye.
- Traumatic accidents to the eye, infections and inherited eye diseases like Keratoconus are just a few reasons why cornea donation is needed.
- Almost anyone, regardless of age or medical condition, can donate their whole eyes or corneas for transplant and/or research
- After the cornea has been recovered, the whole eye as well as the sclera, can be utilized for reconstructive or cosmetic surgery.
- Whole eyes are valuable for research and medical procedure training
- About 21 square feet of skin, weighing up to 15 pounds, cover the average adult. Not only is skin the body's first line of defense against microbes, but it also regulates heat and fluids in the body.
- Skin can be used to aid in the healing process for severe burn victims and people who suffer from a disfiguring injury or disease.
- Donated skin grafts will protect recipients from infection while promoting regeneration of their own skin.
- Skin from donors is removed from the back of the body and can be used to repair large hernias or for tissue reconstruction.
- Donation of skin does not affect the appearance of a donor nor viewing at funeral services
- Blood is pumped through the heart's four chambers aided by four heart valves that open and close and prevent blood from flowing backward.
- Infections and age-related diseases can damage heart valves. Some children are born with malformed valves.
- Heart valves can be recovered when the whole heart is determined not to be viable for transplant.
- Donated human vessels and valves are used as replacements that can mean the difference between life and death to recipients.
- Arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body and veins bring the deoxygenated blood back.
- Many people lose circulation in their legs, or even in their heart, due to disease or trauma.
- Donated veins are used to restore circulation in heart bypass surgeries and to avoid leg amputation for people suffering poor circulation.
BONE & CONNECTIVE TISSUE
- The gift of bone and connective tissues helps individuals with various orthopedic and neurological conditions.
- Tissue includes tendons, ligaments and cartilage that will be used in a variety of back, joint and leg surgeries, such as hip replacement, knee reconstruction and spinal fusion.
- After the bone and soft tissues are recovered, trained professionals replace the bone with prosthetics for funeral viewing arrangements.