Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chapter 1. Introduction

What is organ transplantation?

An organ transplant is an operation that involve moving an organ
from a donor organism to the recipient organism. You would want to do an organ transplant when you have a failing organ or an organ has stopped working and is in need of a replacement organ in order to survive.

What kind of organs are commonly transplanted?

  • Kidney 
  • Liver
  • Heart
  • Pancreas
  • Lung
  • Intestine

How do you prepare for an organ transplant?

Before anything is done, you need to have blood and tissue tested to make sure that eveything matches with the donor. This is because of your immune system. If your immune system detects that the new organ as foreign and will reject it. 

What happens after an organ transplant?

After an organ transplant, you may feel better than ever. What you are capable of doing physically and mentally depends on what kind of organ transplant you did. You do however need to take anti-rejection medication for the rest of your life to prevent the immune system from rejecting the new organ. You will also be required to do regular check ups and blood test to see if the new organ is functioning properly. Because of the anti-rejection drug, your immune system is weaken and you have to stay away from people who maybe sick.

Who can and can not be on the organ transplant list?

  • You must get a referral from your physician in order to be on the transplant list.
  • Many transplant center will not accept anyone who does not have insurance
  • Some transplant center will not accept patients with mental retardation, HIV, history of addiction and people with criminal record
  • Transplant center will reject anyone who is at the age of 75 and up
  • Transplant center do accept illegal aliens but usually are only children. 

How long does it usually take to get an organ if accepted into the list?

OrganMedian national
waiting time
Hearts113 days
Lungs141 days
Livers361 days
Kidneys1,219 days
Pancreas260 days
Intestine159 days



  1. Wow, I was not aware that anyone over the age of 75 are automatically rejected an organ. I wonder if that ethical? But I'm guessing it is, if it is allowed. Also do the anti rejection drugs worked systemically, or do they just target the organ that you are accepting? By the way nice blog set up, very organized and aesthetically pleasing. I like the bullet points, short factual and concise. -Karen

  2. Jack, this is a simple, easy-to-read introduction to organ transplantation. The decision to use non-explicit images shows that you are considerate to those with the weak stomachs, which means your target audience can be quite broad. By beginning your sub-topics with a question, you make your readers anticipate an answer, framing the context of your information. The policies outlining who is eligible for organ transplantation are quite interesting. I’m especially drawn to your third bullet point, “Some transplant centers will not accept patients with mental retardation, HIV, history of addiction and people with criminal record.” I think this would be an interesting aspect to explore. I know Dr. Ho has written about the morality of prioritizing patients based on their perceived behaviors and long-term preferences. If you’re interested, check out his paper “When good organs go to bad people.”

  3. I was not even aware that patients had to take anti-rejection drugs to protect the organ from being rejected. This was a very easy read and interesting blog. Like Karen, I was also unaware that patients ages 75 and older were rejected an organ transplant. Is this because the body of a 75 year old wont be able to keep up with, say the heart that was donated by a 40-50 year old? There is probably a physiological explanation as to why this is. I think its also nice to know that we will help illegal aliens if they are in need of an organ transplant.

  4. I would have never thought that there was this much about organ transplants. I didn't realize that the longest wait period is for kidneys. That's over 3 years of waiting. I would have never pegged it for that long. I think the picture that you chose (happy stuffed-organs) is adorable and sets the tone for the rest of the blog. While organ transplant is something that is unfortunate, thanks to advances in modern medicine it is something that isn't automatically a death sentence.

    Clear, organized, easy to read and follow blog.

  5. This is very intriguing, especially the black background gives it this mysterious and confusion feeling, which matches perfectly with a topic the general public has been, in the past 30 years, standing on the fence whether to accept it as a medical procedure or as an abominated invention of science - just like frankenstein. However, with the recent acceptance of organ transplantation, the medical community is facing the new challenge of "how to stop the body's rejection to the newly transplanted organ?" This is a very hotly debated topic and I like the way you introduced the basic background of organ transplantation and the how those who underwent organ transplantation relay greatly on immunosupprasent therapeutic drugs. Recently, I have read an article that at BWH researchers are growing organs in lab; I am very interested on the science behind it and if they are close to even transplant it - an interesting topic to expand on in your next blog.