Contact: Katy Smith
Written by Heather Dean
LifeShare of Oklahoma Recovers Seven Organs from a Donor After Circulatory Death
First in U.S. History
OKLAHOMA CITY (Dec. 12, 2019) — One Oklahoman’s decision to save lives as an organ and tissue donor made medical history Wednesday.
Seven of the donor’s organs, including the heart, kidneys, lungs, liver and pancreas were transplanted into others, according to LifeShare of Oklahoma. This is the first donation after circulatory death (DCD) in the United States where seven organs were recovered and transplanted.
“LifeShare is honored to facilitate this groundbreaking work from a heroic donor. This is a giant step in the field of organ donation which will ultimately result in more lives saved,” said Jeffrey Orlowski, President and CEO of LifeShare of Oklahoma. “The use of more organs from complex donors, such as DCD donors, will accelerate the increase of transplantation and ultimately lives saved.”
It marked the first time a heart was recovered from an adult DCD donor in Oklahoma, and only the third time in the U.S.
Donation after circulatory death is an option for giving the gift of life when a patient has suffered an irreversible, non-survivable injury and their family has decided to withdraw mechanical ventilator support. DCD occurs after the heart has stopped beating and the person’s death has been declared. It is at this time the donor can give gifts of organs, corneas and tissue.
Historically, only kidneys, livers and lungs have been donated after a person dies from a circulatory death. A new technology which just began U.S. clinical trials has recently allowed physicians to evaluate and preserve the heart for transplant in DCD donations for the first time.
This new advancement will likely open up the opportunity for more patients on the transplant waiting list to receive a lifesaving gift.
There are more than 113,000 people waiting on a lifesaving transplant, 3,757 of whom are waiting on a heart. Of these, 24 are Oklahomans.
“This is a prime example of both organ procurement organizations (OPOs) and transplant centers exploring opportunities to maximize the gifts from donation,” Orlowski said. “At LifeShare, we are stewards of the donors’ gifts of life and we are proud to be part of pioneering new techniques that will ultimately allow more people to give and receive the gift of life.”
In addition to being our nation’s first DCD donor to have seven organs transplanted, this donor was also the 76th DCD donor recovered in Oklahoma in 2019, a new record for LifeShare.
LifeShare is a nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant purposes. We work closely with four transplant centers and 145 healthcare organizations in the state of Oklahoma to facilitate donation. Additionally, we strive to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation through public education.
For more information about LifeShare, please visit www.lifeshareok.org.