Life with the donor organ and the chances of success of a transplantation

For many patients, the transplantation of a donor organ represents the beginning of a new phase in their lives. Life with the organ has to settle in first. The long-term success of the transplant is supported by medical controls. It is especially important now to prevent the loss of the donor organ. A great danger comes from the recipient’s own defense system (immune system): If it recognizes the donor organ as foreign to the body, rejection reactions occur. Certain drugs, called immunosuppressants, help to suppress these rejection reactions and thus increase the chances of success of the transplantation.

Westend61 / Getty Images

A new phase of life for transplanted patients

After a successful transplantation, a new phase of life begins for the patients: independence from dialysis, the possibility to breathe deeply, to move freely or even to eat foods that were forbidden before the transplantation due to the disease. But an event as special as an organ transplant can also bring conflicting feelings:

In addition to the newfound joy of life that many transplanted patients experience, there is also the knowledge of the grief and pain felt by the relatives of the organ donor. There is often a desire to say thank you and show how much the organ donation has meant to you.

Thank you letters from transplant recipients

To give space to these emotions, transplanted patients and the donor’s relatives can write letters to the other side. This correspondence takes place via the German Foundation for Organ Transplantation (DSO).

This ensures the anonymity of both sides at all times. Letters are forwarded only when both sides have agreed to this contact.

Life with the donor organ

Everyday life after a transplant usually has to settle in first. Especially in the first period after transplantation, frequent medical check-ups are important to prevent organ loss. In principle, however, the aftercare following an organ transplant lasts a lifetime. An adjustment in lifestyle to the new, changed situation may be necessary. In this case, good cooperation between the patient and the attending physician is important.

The immune system reacts

In the case of organ transplantation, there is always a risk that the recipient’s own immune system will recognize the donor organ as a foreign body. In such a case, the immune system attacks the donor organ and there is a risk of organ rejection. To minimize the risk of rejection, it is important that the donor organ matches the recipient as closely as possible. This prevents particularly strong rejection reactions from the outset. The more similar the collected medical data of the donor organ and the recipient, the less the recipient’s immune system will react to the foreign organ.


The decisive factor for the growth of a donor organ in the recipient’s body is, in addition to the agreement of the medical data, above all the suppression of rejection by medication. The so-called immunosuppressants, which have been used to treat transplanted patients for many years, have brought enormous progress in this area. These drugs weaken the immune system’s reaction to the new organ. Thanks to immunosuppressants, the prospects of a donor organ functioning well in the recipient’s body for many years have improved significantly.

Like all other drugs, immunosuppressants have side effects. For example, a person who has to take immunosuppressants for the rest of his or her life – for example, after a kidney transplant – is exposed to a considerably greater risk of infection than other people.

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: