Only, the healthy human heart of a brain-dead organ donor can be transplanted.
Most organ donors are people who suffer from a head injury
that results in brain death. Brain death is a condition where the brain has permanently stopped working, as determined by a physician.
Artificial support systems may temporarily maintain functions such as heartbeat and breathing, but not permanently. These may be people who have had a stroke
, traumatic head injury due to a car accident or fall, or a brain tumor
that has not metastasized.
There are two ways to pronounce death. Death may be pronounced when a person's heart stops beating or when the person's brain stops functioning (brain death).
Brain death occurs when blood, and the oxygen
it carries, cannot flow to the brain. The person's heart still beats and provides blood and oxygen to the rest of the body, as long as the person remains on a ventilator, or breathing machine. Because these functions remain intact, brain dead
people can qualify as organ donors
Because many people who might think they cannot donate are good donor candidates, it is important that you sign a donor card and, above all, let your family know your wishes.
For a brochure on organ and tissue donation, including a donor card and family notification form, call 1-800-355-SHARE (7427) or visit www.organdonor.gov and/or www.donatelife.net