FAQ’s on Organ Donation

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FAQ’s on Organ Donation

What is the difference between cardiac death and brain death?
When the heart stops irreversibly and no longer pumps blood to the brain and other body parts - cardiac death occurs

Brain death occurs when the nerve cells of the brain die. This happens if the blood supply of the brain stops due to some intrinsic damage like hemorrhage or tumor or ischemia. In this situation the heart and lungs may still be functioning independently and supplying blood to other organs of the body. The brain is the master conductor of the body and once brain death occurs, function of all organs deteriorates very rapidly and if adequate support is not provided the heart and lungs also stops.

What organs can be donated after brain death?
Organs such as heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, intestines and pancreas can be successfully donated after brain death. Besides this all tissues can be donated

What organs/tissues can be donated after cardiac death?
Although solid organs (like kidneys and liver) can be donated after cardiac death but it required considerable organizational skill and coordination. Tissues that can be donated are eye tissue, bone tissue, skin tissue and heart tissue.

What organs/tissues can be donated while the person donating is living?
Any paired organ (e.g Kidney) can be considered for donation provided both the organs are functioning well. Apart from that blood, bone marrow and bone tissue can also be donated by a living person.

Can liver be donated by a living person?
Although in most cases liver donation is done after death, a procedure called live donor liver transplantation (LDLT) can be done, in which a living donor donates a portion of their liver to another. However this should be done only in centres that have considerable experience otherwise the donor complication rate can be high. A safe living liver donation procedure is for an adult to donate a portion of their left lobe of live to a child.

Can health condition influence donation of an organ?
No. Most people, including even those with diabetes, hepatitis and cancer, can donate their organs. Only those who test positive for HIV cannot donate their organs.

Is there an age limit for organ donation?
Age is generally not a bar to donation. Anyone in reasonably good health can donate their organs. Some organs maybe not be useable after a certain age for example after the age of 50 years heart and lungs are not generally used. Kidneys have been sometimes used from even 80 years old.

For children below 18 years of age, the custodial parent or the legal guardian must sign as a witness on the registration form and give consent at the time of death.

How long can organs and tissues can be preserved for transplant after their removal from the donor?
Organs are cooled and preserved after they are removed from the donor. Preservation time for organs: heart and lungs – 6 hours; liver, pancreas and intestine – 12 to 24 hours and kidney – 48 hours.

Tissues like skin and bone can be preserved for many years. Similarly corneas can be preserved for a few months.

Where to register for organ donation in India?
At present there are no registries by the government available in India. You can however register with Non-Government Organisations like MOHAN (Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network). Their website www.mohanfoundation.org has a downloadable donor card that can be printed and kept in the wallet. It is available in more than six Indian languages. The donor form can also be obtained from Organ Retrieval Banking Organization, AIIMS, New Delhi personally or via mail or downloaded from ORBO website [ www.orbo.org.in ]

Does the organ donor have to pay for registration form?
The donor form is absolutely free of cost.

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