What is a transplant?
Today, transplants are the best solution for illnesses that cause the irreversible loss of an essential organ, such as liver, kidneys, lungs or heart. The number of transplant requests in the UK is constantly rising because of the aging of the population and the increase in the number of chronic illnesses. Transplants are thus an issue that is more and more important in the field of health.
The aim of a transplant (or graft) is to transfer an organ, tissue or cells from a donor individual to a recipient (the patient). It is also possible for the patient to be both the donor and the recipient; this is what is called an autograft. An essential element for a transplant is the compatibility between the donor and the recipient.
A transplant nevertheless remains a major surgical operation that can result in a large number of complications. After a transplant, patients must take anti-rejection medication for the rest of their lives. These drugs tend to reduce the patient’s immune defences. The weakened immune system is thus more susceptible to secondary infections.
Today, however, thanks to better knowledge and techniques, the chances of survival for transplant patients have considerably improved. It is estimated, for example, that between 90 and 95% of kidney transplants are still functioning 12 months after the transplant.
While waiting for a transplant
When patients are waiting for a transplant, they may have a wide range of questions. In addition to the medical team or your close family and friends, it may be interesting to talk with people who are in the same situation as you. They might be able to answer your questions and provide you with support.
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