Services

Common Terms

ALLOGRAFT

An organ or tissue transplanted from one individual to another of the same species ie. human to human. Example: a transplanted kidney

ANTIBODY

A protein substance made by the human body in response to a foreign substance (antigen), such as a previous transplant, blood transfusion or pregnancy.

ANTIGEN

A foreign substance, such as a transplant, that triggers a response (antibody).

ANTI-REJECTION DRUGS

Medicines developed to suppress the immune system so that the body will accept, rather than reject, a transplanted organ. Also called immunosuppressants.

CROSSMATCH

A blood test for patient antibodies against donor antigens. A positive crossmatch shows that the donor and patient do not match. A negative crossmatch means there is no reaction between donor and patient and that the transplant may proceed.

DURABLE MEDICAL POWER OF ATTORNEY

A document in which individuals may designate someone to make medical decisions for them when they are unable to speak for themselves.

END STAGE RENAL DISEASE

A condition in which the kidneys no longer function and for which patients need dialysis or a transplant.

EXPANDED CRITERIA DONORS

"Less traditional" donors who are 60 or older or who are between 50-59 with at least two of the following conditions: 1. history of high blood pressure; 2. creatinine level of greater than 1.5 (a creatinine test measures how well a kidney is functioning with a normal range of 0.8-1.4); 3. cause of death was from a stroke or aneurysm.

GRAFT

A transplanted organ or tissue.

HLA ANTIGENS

Markers founds on cells in the body that distinguish each individual as unique. Human leukocye antigens (HLA) are inherited from one's parents. In donor-recipient matching, HLA determines whether an organ from one individual will be accepted by another.

IMMUNE RESPONSE

The body's natural defense against foreign objects or organisms such as bacteria, viruses or transplanted organs or tissue.

IMMUNOSUPPRESSANT

A drug used following transplantation to prevent rejection of the transplanted organ by suppressing the body's defense system.

IMMUNOSUPPRESSION

The artificial suppression of the immune response, usually through drugs, so that the body will not reject a transplanted organ or tissue.

NOTA

The National Organ Transplant Act, passed by Congress in 1984, outlawed the sale of human organs and began the development of a national system for organ sharing and a scientific registry to collect and report transplant data.

ORGAN PROCUREMENT

Recovery of organs for transplantation.

ORGAN PRESERVATION

Donated organs require special methods of preservation to keep them healthy between procurement and transplantation. Without preservation, the organ will die. A kidney can be preserved for 24-48 hours; a pancreas can be preserved for 12-18 hours.

ORGAN PROCUREMENT AND TRANSPLANTATION NETWORK (OPTN)

OPTN manages the nation's organ procurement, donation and transplantation system and increases the availability of and access to organs for patients with end-stage organ failure.

ORGAN PROCUREMENT ORGANIZATION (OPO)

OPOs are the vital link between the donor and recipient and are responsible for the recovery, preservation and transportation of organs for transplantation. There are currently 58 OPOS around the country and all are UNOS members.

OPO LOCAL SERVICE AREA

Each OPO provides its services to the transplant programs in its area. When most organs become available, a list of candidates is generated from the OPO's local service area. If a patient match is not made in that local area, a wider, regional list of potential candidates is generated, followed by a national list.

PRA

Panel reactive antibody (PRA) is the percentage of cells from certain donors with which a candidate's blood serum reacts. The more antibodies in the candidate's blood, the higher the PRA. High PRAs lessen the chances rejection. Patients with a high PRA have priority on the waiting list.

REJECTION

Rejection occurs when the body tries to destroy a transplanted organ or tissue because it is a foreign object. Immunosuppressive (anti-rejection) drugs help prevent rejection.

RETRANSPLANTATION

Due to organ rejection or transplant failure, some patients need another transplant and return to the waiting list to be retransplanted.

REQUIRED REQUEST

Hospitals must tell the families of suitable donors that their loved one's organs and tissues can be used for transplant. This law is intended to increase the number of donated organs and tissues for transplantation by giving more people the opportunity to donate.

SENSITIZATION

Patients become sensitized when there are antibodies in the blood usually because of blood transfusions or previous rejection of an organ transplant. Sensitation is measured by panel reactive antibody (PRA). Highly sensitized patients are less likely to match with a suitable donor and more likely to reject an organ than unsensitized patients.

TISSUE TYPING

The examination of human leukocye antigens (HLA) in a patients, tissue typing (genetic matching), is done for all donors and candidates in kidney transplantation to help match the donor to the most suitable recipient.

U.S. SCIENTIFIC REGISTRY OF TRANSPLANT RECIPIENTS

A database of post-transplant information. Follow-up data on every transplant is used to track transplant center performance, transplant success rates and medical issues impacting transplant recipients.

WAITING LIST

List of individuals waiting for an available matching organ to become available. Lists are specific to organ needed.

 

Terms and some definitions from United Network for Organ Sharing (c) 2009.