A kidney transplant may be needed when kidneys stop working from diabetes, hypertension, genetic disease, cancer, or other injuries. Kidneys can be transplanted from a living or deceased donor. After a transplant, patients will begin anti-rejection medications, sit up within one day, avoid lifting or driving, and shower daily (UNOS, n.d.).
A heart transplant requires a deceased donor and is matched by blood type and body size. The transplant is usually done to combat heart failure. Like other transplants, anti-rejection medications are necessary, and regular follow-ups will occur (American Heart Association [AHA], 2021).
A liver for transplant can be provided by a deceased or living donor. Only a portion of the liver is taken if a living donor is used, as the liver can regenerate itself. The transplant is done after end-stage liver disease occurs. After a transplant, liver function tests will frequently occur, along with at least five days in the hospital. Medications and frequent follow-ups are needed (Mayo Clinic, 2022c).
A lung transplant, which can be performed on one or both lungs, typically occurs from a deceased donor. However, a healthy individual might be able to donate a lobe. The transplant usually occurs due to diseases such as COPD, cystic fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, or heart disease affecting the lungs. After a transplant, medications are started, and pulmonary function tests, bloodwork, and bronchoscopies may be performed to see how the transplant is functioning (Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2023).
A pancreas transplant occurs from a deceased donor and is sometimes done with a kidney transplant, often lessening the risk of rejection. The old pancreas remains in the recipient's body. The transplant often occurs for uncontrolled type 1 diabetes (Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2019).
Intestinal transplant is one of the rarest transplants, with the Cleveland Clinic only completing seventeen in 2021. The small intestine is typically transplanted, often related to intestinal failure (Cleveland Clinic, n.d.).
Also known as keratoplasty, a cornea transplant can help restore vision, reduce pain, or improve appearance. It is harvested from a deceased donor. After the surgery, patients must take their medications as scheduled, wear eye protection to keep the eye from being damaged, lie flat on their back (at times), and follow up closely with their physician (Mayo Clinic, 2022b).
Bone marrow transplants can be done from one's own cells (autologous) or a donor (allogeneic). It may treat both cancerous and non-cancerous hematologic disorders. Stem cells are collected from blood or bone marrow and are infused into the patient. After a transplant, it may take weeks before the blood cells return to normal ranges. These individuals are closely monitored with routine bloodwork due to being at risk for infection and complications (Mayo Clinic, 2022a).