What Organs Can Be Donated

What organs are transplantable? What organs can be donated?

Click the following organs to learn more:

  • 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– 24hours.
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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 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.

Time is critical when it comes to organ transplants. Please refer to the graph below to see the time each organ has between recovery and transplant to still be a viable organ.