December 4, 2012
The history of transplantation is an epic journey describing the medical community’s need to understand how the human body works and how you can ultimately defy illness and death. The most important component is the generosity of organ and tissue donors, and the courage of those whom receive the transplant. Transplantation goes back many Centuries, in the 9th Century BC Ancient folklore in most cultures describe how supernatural forces weave together body parts from different animals. Then in the 4th Century BC Chinese texts describe Tsin Yue-Jen, a surgeon who switches the hearts of two soldiers; these accounts say that both soldiers survived, but give no reason for the transplant. This is the first known description of body-to-body transfer. In the 3rd Century AD according to Christian mythology Saints Cosmos and Damian replace a patient’s leg with that of a cadaver. This is the first description of the body of a dead person helping a living person. In the 1600’s William Harvey documents the human circulatory system, the first transfusion of blood which was from a lamb to a 15 year old boy was documented and the first bone transplant was documented where they used bone from a dog’s skull to repair a defect in a Russian soldier’s skull. In the 1800’s there is record of the first Human-To-Human blood transfusion, the first successful Human-To-Human bone transplant, first reported use of skin graft, and first attempts at bone marrow transplant. In the 1900’s much more successes have occurred in transplantation, such as, first successful cornea transplant, first transplant of a knee, first animal to human kidney transplant, first successful human-to-human kidney transplant, first functional blood bank, first eye bank, first bone bank, first heart valve and artery transplants, first successful liver transplant, first U.S. heart transplant, first successful single lung transplant, first heart/lung combined transplant, first intestine transplant, first split-liver transplant, first hand transplant, and first partial face transplant. As you can see there have been a great number of improvements that have helped in the success of transplantation. In 1983 the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of cyclosporine which can improve transplant outcomes as its immunosuppressive qualities lessons the potential for organ rejection. In 1987 Medicare approved payment for heart transplants performed at hospitals that meet criteria set by the Health Care Financing Administration (Now Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). In 1999 the Organ Donor Leave Act was passed by Congress to allow federal employees to receive paid leave and serve as a living organ or marrow donors. In 2001 the number of living donors exceeded the number of deceased donors for the first time. In 2006 Donate Life America launched its Donor Designation Collaborative to increase the total number of registered donors in the U.S. to 100 million, and in 2009 the End The Wait! Campaign launched by the National Kidney Foundation to increase organ donation and eliminate the Kidney waiting list.
In response to the shortage of organs for transplantation, relatives, friends, loved ones and even individuals who wish to remain anonymous may serve as living donors for the more than 100,000 people on the national organ transplant waiting list. During each of the past five years, more than 6,200 transplants were made possible by living donors.
A living donor can save and/or greatly improve the quality of life of a transplant of a transplant candidate. However donating an organ is a personal decision that should only be made after you are fully informed about the possible risks and benefits. There are different types of living donor transplants by organ types: Kidney (entire organ), Liver (segment), Lung (lobe), Intestine (section), and Pancreas (portion). A Directed...