The spare parts store

  • 14/03/2008

Most organs can be transplanted. In theory, if your heart, liver, pancreas, lungs, kidneys and intestines do not work, you can get them from donors. Other than these organs, tissues like cornea, skin, bone and bone marrow can also be sourced from donors. Surgeons have also tried to transplant body parts like hands. Organ donors can be living, or deceased. Cadavers, people who die of cardiac arrests or are brain dead, are good sources of organs.

There is, however, a hitch: only tissues can be retrieved from people who die at home. Organ retrieval can happen only when the patient dies at hospital or is pronounced brain dead. In general, less than one per cent of deaths can be considered for potential organ donation.

Using cadavers for transplants requires sound organ retrieval systems in the first place. The organ must be retrieved within four hours of a person's death.To extend the life of the organ, it is cut and the blood is replaced by an ice-cold storage solution.

A deceased's kidney can be retrieved within 24 hours, liver within 12 hours, and heart and lungs within four to six hours. Brain dead people can be kept on life support system till arrangements for transplants are made

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