Allocation: The process of determining how donor organs are distributed. The United Network for Organ Sharing allocates organs based on criteria such as severity of the patient’s condition, blood type, time on the waiting list, and others.
Anti-Rejection Drugs: Also called immunosuppressive drugs, these medications prevent your body’s immune system from attacking your transplanted organ. Most transplant patients will need to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives.
Cirrhosis: A disease of the liver in which normal tissue is replaced by scar tissue and which may cause the patient to need a liver transplant.
Cyclosporine: An anti-rejection drug that may be prescribed to transplant patients.
Dialysis: A mechanical process aimed at partially performing kidney functions such as waste removal and fluid balance. Many kidney patients require frequent dialysis until they receive a transplant.
Donor: A person whose organs or tissues are removed for transplantation. Kidneys and some partial organs may be taken from living donors, but most organs must come from a donor who has died.
Immunosuppressive Drugs: Also called anti-rejection drugs, these medications prevent your body’s immune system from attacking your transplanted organ. Most transplant patients will need to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives.
Procurement: The act of surgically removing an organ from a donor.
Rejection: This occurs when the patient’s immune system recognizes the new organ as a foreign body and attacks it. Anti-rejection drugs are designed to prevent this from happening.
Sensitization: Transplant candidates are considered “sensitized” if their blood contains antibodies, which can place them at a higher risk of rejecting the new organ. Sensitization can be caused by pregnancy, blood transfusions, or rejection of a previous organ transplant.
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS): The private, nonprofit organization that coordinates the national organ transplant waiting list.