Organ Transplants

Kayla overheard her father say that Grandpa was on the waiting list for a heart transplant. His heart was getting so weak that he needed a new heart soon or he would die. Where did someone get a new heart? What is a heart transplant?

A heart transplant happens when a heart is moved from one body to another body. Other organs can be transplanted, too. Why would this ever be done? A transplant occurs when a body part fails or needs to be replaced with one that works better. Where do these organs come from?

For certain organs, such as the heart, the donor is considered deceased. This means the person is brain-dead but his or her organs are kept alive by ventilators or other machines in order to be donated. In some cases, living donors can donate an organ that they have two of, such as a kidney, or part of an organ where the rest of the organ can do the job or it can regenerate. For example, living donors stay alive but donate blood, skin, or part of a liver.

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