Monday, 9 July 2012

National Transplant Week 2012: Is age an issue?

It’s National Transplant Week! I make no apologies for filling various social network feeds with statistics and information regarding organ donation. The word really needs to be spread far and wide about this issue! I would also like to thank my village shop for putting up a poster in their window and displaying leaflets for National Transplant Week! 

I aim to write a short blog each day, with a little fact or two regarding organ donation. Today I am going to talk about age. 

I have heard many people say that they feel that they are too old to sign up to the organ donation register to donate their organs after their death. This is not always the case. NHS Blood and Transplant say that ‘older people are less likely to be able to donate as many of their organs as younger people, as some organs become less suitable for transplant as people age’. However, organs from people in their 70s and 80s have in fact been transplanted successfully! The oldest recorded cornea donor was 104 years old. The oldest solid organ donor in the UK was 84 years old. Recently, an 83 year old man from Hampshire became the oldest person in the UK to make a live organ donation, he was an ‘altruistic’ kidney donor – he will never meet the person who received his kidney. 

Ultimately it is down to the transplant teams to assess organs for viability for transplant, so PLEASE sign up, no matter how old you are (or feel!). And don’t forget to tell your loved ones what your wishes regarding organ donation are after your death!!!

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