Transplant Facts



  • Some heart transplants implant a donor heart ‘piggyback’ to aid the patient’s heart.
  • More and more body parts can now be replaced, either by transplants (parts taken from other people or animals) or by implants (artificial parts).
  • Common transplants include: the kidney, the cornea of the eye, the heart, the lung, the liver and the pancreas.
  • Some transplant organs (such as the heart, lungs and liver) are taken from someone who has died.
  • Other organs (such as the kidney) may be taken from living donors.
  • After the transplant organ is taken from the donor, it is washed in an oxygenated liquid and cooled to preserve it.
  • One problem with transplants is that the body’s immune system identifies the transplant as foreign and attacks it. This is called rejection.
  • These are just some of the artificial implants now put in place — hip, knee, shoulder and elbow. Old people often need implants to replace joints that have deteriorated.
  • To cut down the chance of rejection, patients may be given drugs such as cyclosporin to suppress their immune system.
  • Heart transplant operations last 4 hours.
  • During a heart transplant, the patient is connected to a heart-lung machine which takes over the heart’s normal functions.