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S.16/E.16

Multi-Organ Transplant

This week we will discuss Multi-Organ transplants with Zachary Colton.  Zach is 35 years old and recently underwent a successful 5 organ multivisceral intestinal transplant surgery at the Toronto General Hospital in his home country of Canada. The organs he received were: stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, and pancreas.  

In 1954, the kidney was the first human organ to be transplanted successfully. Liver, heart and pancreas transplants were successfully performed by the late 1960s, while lung and intestinal organ transplant procedures were begun in the 1980s.

From the mid-1950s through the early 1970s, individual transplant hospitals and organ procurement organizations managed all aspects of organ recovery and transplantation. If an organ couldn’t be used at hospitals local to the donor, there was no system to find matching candidates elsewhere. Many organs couldn’t be used simply because transplant teams couldn’t locate a compatible recipient in time. 

Since that time UNOS was created in order to provide guidance to patients and physicians in the US with a goal of providing a more equitable base for individuals in need of transplanted organ(s).

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is a non-profit scientific and educational organization that administers the only Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) in the United States, established (42 U.S.C. § 274) by the U.S. Congress in 1984 by Gene A. Pierce, founder of United Network for Organ Sharing. Located in Richmond, Virginia, the organization's headquarters are situated near the intersection of Interstate 95 and Interstate 64 in the Virginia BioTechnology Research Park.

United Network for Organ Sharing is involved in many aspects of the organ transplant and donation process:

  • Managing the national transplant waiting list, matching donors to recipients.

  • Maintaining the database that contains all organ transplant data for every transplant event that occurs in the U.S.

  • Bringing together members to develop policies that make the best use of the limited supply of organs and give all patients a fair chance at receiving the organ they need, regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, religion, lifestyle, or financial/social status.

  • Monitoring every organ match to ensure organ allocation policies are followed.

  • Providing assistance to patients, family members and friends.

  • Educating transplant professionals about their important role in the donation and transplant processes. (CREDITS: Wiki)

  • Educating the public about the importance of organ donation.

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