Organ transplants have been extending the lives of people with incurable diseases for decades.
In 2016, 512 solid organs and corneas were transplanted in South Africa, while according to the Organ Donation Foundation of South Africa (ODF) 4300 patients are waiting for organs.
Not necessarily a cure
While organ transplantation can alter or prolong the life of a dying person, it is important to know that survival rates are different for each individual and process, says Samantha Nicholls, Managing Director of the ODF.
Several factors of aftercare, such as diet, lifestyle, and medications, also play a large role in the outcome of the operation and survival of the patient, she says.
The lifetime and survival rate of the transplanted organs depends on several factors, including the patient's follow-up, the possibility of chronic rejection, how effectively the organ was cooled, and how long it took for the organ to reach the recipient.
Most medical experts agree that organ transplants are not necessarily a cure for a disease ̵
According to ODF independent transplant consultant Maryn Reyneke, the survival rate of an organ transplant varies between patient survival (calculated from the date of transplantation to the time of death of the patient) and graft survival (estimated likelihood of survival) from the time of transplantation to the time of transplantation first signs of failure.
We examined the average lifespan of the most commonly transplanted organs and focused on patient survival using median survival rates from various sources.
1. Heart Transplant
When a transplant is needed: Heart transplants are needed for a variety of reasons, including severe heart failure as a result of congenital heart disease.
Prognosis: Since the first successful human-to-human heart transplantation in 1967, the average survival median for heart transplantation has been extended to at least 10 years after surgery
ODF to have some patients the possibility of a second transplant in their lifetime, but in general the prognosis is excellent and the overall survival rate is as follows: 85% of all donors live for one year, 77% for three years and 70% for more than five years.
2. Kidney transplant
If a transplant is needed: Kidney transplants are usually considered in end-stage renal failure when dialysis no longer helps
Prognosis: Nada Alachkar of the Johns Hopkins Medical Center notes that her prognosis for transplant patients is excellent – a survival rate of 90% with an average lifespan of 15 years after transplantation, especially if the kidney is from a living donor
to the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) in the UK is the lifespan of a deceased donor kidney 12 years
Dr. Pieter le Roux, a urologist from Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, explained that the results with living donors are better kidneys, because the genetic match between relatives is usually better and these kidneys do not have to spend time in storage.
Younger patients may require two or more transplants in their lives and the prognosis of transplantation depends on some f actors such as follow-up, medications to prevent rejection, diet and lifestyle
3. Lung transplantation
When transplantation is needed: A lung transplantation is considered in acute lung diseases that interfere with breathing and overall quality of life
A lung transplant becomes progressive for all non-cancerous States of the lungs are performed, which lead to respiratory failure.
There are four types of lung transplantation: single-cell transplant, double-transplant, cardiac and double-transplantation, and the extreme case of live donor lobe transplantation (two live, healthy donors each donate a portion of their lobe)
Prognosis: While the prognosis for lung transplantation was not as it was with other transplants, survival rates have improved dramatically over the years.
Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg is the only multidisciplinary lung transplant unit with a smaller unit in KwaZulu-Natal. According to them, the survival rate is as follows: 67% of all transplant patients survive for one year, 65% for two years and 44% for five years.
Dr PG Williams, a specialist in heart and lung transplantation at Milpark Hospital, says progress is being made towards higher survival rates.
4. Liver transplant
If a transplant is needed: A liver transplant is considered when diseases such as viral hepatitis, alcoholic liver disease, cirrhosis and metabolic or genetic Liver disorders cause liver
Prognosis: According to ODF, the prognosis for liver transplantation with a survival rate of 80-90% is good for all liver transplants. In a study published in the journal Transplant Proceedings initially all patients of the liver transplant unit at the Red Cross Chidlren's Hospital in Cape Town survived the procedure since 1987 and 74% of them have three months to 12 survives years after the transplant.
Register today as an organ donor at www.odf.org