WHAT IS ORGAN TRANSPLANTATION?
Organ transplantation is a process where one organ that is sick and cannot work properly, or even can be a threat for the body, is substituted with the new and healthy one.
Today the most transplanted organs are eyes, kidneys, liver, heart, pancreas, bone marrow, heart-lung, bone and intestinal. These transplant organs are taken from the person that has just passed away or the closest relatives. For example, by taking healthy cornea and kidney from patient that died from heart diseases, they can be transplanted to the patients that do not see of suffer from kidney diseases.
From whom the transplantation can be done?
Organ transplantation can be realized from two types of donors: living and cadaver.
- Cadaver donor (giver): While patient is staying in intensive care after traffic accidents, gunshots, cerebral bleeding and similar, and in case when irreversible brain damage called brain death occurs this patient can be cadaver donor (if he/she donated its organs in the past). Kidney, liver, pancreas, heart, cardiac valves, cornea transplants are used in cadaver transplantation.
- Living donor: Partner or close relative with the tissue and blood group compatible with the patient that needs transplantation, can be organ donator. This person is defined as a living donor. This kind of transplantation can be made in cases when kidney and liver transplantation is needed.
WHAT IS BRAIN DEATH?
To say that brain death occurred it means that all the flow of blood and oxygen stopped, and that brain completely and irreversibly lost its function. After brain death occurs, in shortest period patient will lose other organs, too. Even when the brain dies, heart continues to work for a short period because there is a breathing machine (ventilator) that pumps the oxygen in the body. Heart has its own working center, independent of the brain. As long as oxygen from this center comes to heart tissue, it will extract electrical stimulation and enable heart to beat for a while. Until today, a case of revival after a brain death was not recorded anywhere in the world. When brain death occurs patient is considered dead in medical and legal sense.
Brain has permanently lost its function.
Patient is connected to breathing machine, because it cannot breathe independently.
This state is different than state of coma and persistent vegetative state.
Despite all the medical treatment and support of machines, after a short time other organs will stop working, too.
These kinds of patients are technically dead. It is not possible to bring them back to life again.
However, organ transplantation from brain-dead person can be done
Decision about whether brain death has occurred or not, is being made by a committee of experts after a various tests performed. This committee consists of experts in brain surgery, neurology, anesthesiology - reanimation and cardiology. Every doctor itself performs necessary tests, documents it and presents to coordinator. These tests and analyses are organized in a report and according to results in total the decision is made.
In case of persistent vegetative state:
Patient continues to breathe. However it may need a help of a machine.
With the support of machine, this patient can live for months and years.
In some cases, there is a chance for recovery.
Sometimes we hear on TV or read in newspapers news like ´´he/she returned to life after 3-5 years´´. These cases are the ones of persistent vegetative state. For these patients, miracle happened and they recovered.
The same situation is with deep coma. These people are not accepted as medically dead and organ transplantation is not possible.
For these patients, no matter how small, there is still a hope for recovery.