Long Wait for Organ Transplants

Last year that ended in March, 3,000 organs were transplanted from 870 brain-dead individuals.Last year that ended in March, 3,000 organs were transplanted from 870 brain-dead individuals.

Over 400 people with heart failure are currently on the waitlist to receive transplants and around 200 patients are awaiting lung donations. Between 70 and 80 of the patients are in urgent need of organs.

On the other hand, a large number of organs from brain-dead patients that could be harvested are not forthcoming due to the lack of awareness and ignorance about organ transplantation.

Between 5,000 and 8,000 people are declared brain-dead in Iran every year, while the organs of only 665 such patients are donated.

At least 2,500-4,000 organ transplants are needed annually. Nearly 25,000 people suffer from organ failure while 1,000-3,000 Iranians register as organ donors every month.

Nevertheless, the tendency to donate organs of brain-dead patients has increased in recent years due to legal and religious decrees and widespread awareness campaigns on the issue.

Organ donation coordinators have developed strategies to convince families of the brain-dead to allow their organs to be donated.

“Based on an unwritten law for instance, coordinators know that they must not discuss the matter with families until they have fully accepted the loss of their dear ones”, said Katayoun Najafizadeh, head of the Health Ministry’s Transplant and Rare Diseases Office, Mehr News Agency reported.

Over the past 17 years since the law on organ donation was passed, the rate of transplant surgery from brain-dead people has seen a systemic increase.

Last year that ended in March, 3,000 organs were transplanted from 870 brain-dead individuals, said Seyed Mohammad Kazemeyni, head of the ministry’s Organ Transplants Management Center.

 Kidney Donations

As per statistics, kidney donations from brain-dead patients constituted 57% of transplant surgeries in 2015.

Today, over 1.4 million people have voluntary organ donation cards. On average, 700 organ donations (nine per million people) are made annually according to official statistics.

Organ transplant is a medical procedure in which an organ is removed from one body and placed in the body of a recipient, to replace a damaged or missing organ.

Brain death as against a comatose state means that the brain is no longer working in any capacity and never will again. Other organs, such as the heart, kidneys or liver, can still work if the breathing machine or respiratory equipment is left in place, but when brain death is declared, it usually means the person has died. Therefore, such patients are the best potential candidates for organ donation.

Coma is distinguished from brain death by the presence of brain stem responses, spontaneous breathing or non-purposeful motor responses.    


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