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Terms and Topics - O


Organ—A part of the body, made up of various tissues, which performs a particular function. Transplantable organs are: heart, intestines, liver, lungs, kidneys, and pancreas.

Organ Donation—To give an organ or a part of an organ to be transplanted into another person. Organ donation can occur with a deceased donor, who can give kidneys, pancreas, liver, lungs, heart, intestinal organs, and with a live donor, who can give a kidney or a portion of the liver, lung, or intestine.

Organ Preservation—Methods used to maintain the quality of organs between removal from the donor and transplantation into recipient. These methods include preservation solutions, pumps, and cold storage. Preservation times can vary from 2 to 48 hours depending on the type of organ being preserved. See Cold Ischemia Time.

Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN)—In 1984, Congress passed the National Organ Transplant Act that mandated the establishment of the OPTN and Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients. The purpose of the OPTN is to improve the effectiveness of the nation's organ procurement, donation and transplantation system by increasing the availability of and access to donor organs for patients with end-stage organ failure. The Act stipulated that the network be a nonprofit, private sector entity whose members are all U.S. transplant centers, organ procurement organizations and histocompatibility laboratories. These members, along with professional and voluntary healthcare organizations and the representatives of the general public, are governed by a Board of Directors. The OPTN is administered by UNOS External Web Site Policy under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. > OPTN Web site.

Organ Procurement Organizations (OPO)—Local organizations throughout the U.S. designated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are responsible for increasing the number of registered donors in their service areas, and for coordinating the donation process when actual donors become available. OPOs evaluate potential donors, discuss donation with surviving family members, and arrange for the surgical removal and transport of donated organs. To increase donor registration, OPOs implement community outreach strategies to encourage people to sign up in their State donor registry. Find your local OPO. > Association of Organ Procurement Organizations Web site.External Web Site Policy


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