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123 When can organs be "harvested"?




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This article is from the Organ Transplant FAQ, by mike_holloway@hotmail.com (Michael Holloway) with numerous contributions by others.

123 When can organs be "harvested"?

Question:
Can an organ be taken after biological death has occurred?
If so, what is the time window? Thank you.

Answer:
There are two basic types of donation: organ donation and tissue donation.
Organs that can be donated are the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas,
and small intestine. These can be taken only while the heart is still
beating, when the donor is "brain-dead." Brain death is defined as the
irreversible cessation of all brain and brain stem functions. A brain dead
person is maintained on a ventilator, and because the machine breathes for
him, the donor's heart continues to beat and the organs continue to
receive a blood supply. These organs are cooled with a preservatrive
solution immediately after the heart is stopped in the operating room
during the organ recovery.

Tissues (skin, bone, corneas and heart valves) can be recovered up to 24
hours after the heart has stopped beating.

For more information on this question, please e-mail me at
geraghty@clark.net

P.J. Geraghty, Procurement Coordinator, Washington Regional Transplant
Consortium
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