Hospitals and organ donation

Depending on tradition, government regulations, the medical community, and the local culture, the organ donor process may vary widely between countries. It is estimated that in the United States 5600 additional lives could be saved annually from transplant organs by improved hospital practices related to donation requests. This could be achieved through active prospective identification of available donors, the majority of whom will be in an ICU setting or come through emergency room triage. According to a recent study, 27 per cent of potential donors were lost because health professionals did not identify them or did not make a proper effort to ask about donation or refer them to the appropriate organ procurement agency; there was no difference between large and small hospitals in handling donation

In the future, animals may be the main source of donor organs. For this to be realized, new effective and safe combinations of immunosuppressive drugs and protocols are needed. Another avenue may be to insert human genetic material into animal organs to induce tolerance without the need for immunosuppressive drugs. Much further research is needed in this exciting and promising area of xenotransplantation.

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