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General Practice 2023

Doação de órgãos: who can donate, who cannot and how it happens

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Doação de órgãos: who can donate, who cannot and how it happens
Doação de órgãos: who can donate, who cannot and how it happens

Organ donation is made from the removal of an organ or tissue from a voluntary donor or a person who has died and who has authorized the removal and donation of their organs and subsequent transplantation to a person in need of that organ so that you can continue your life.

To be an organ donor in Brazil, it is necessary to inform the family of this desire, as there is no need to record it in any document. Currently, it is possible to donate kidneys, liver, heart, pancreas and lungs, in addition to tissues such as cornea, skin, bones, cartilage, blood, heart valves and bone marrow.

Some organs, such as a kidney or a piece of the liver, for example, can be donated while alive, however most organs that can be transplanted can only be taken from people who have confirmed brain death.

Who can donate organs

Practically all he althy people can donate organs and tissues, even when they are alive, because certain organs can be shared. However, most donations happen in cases of:

  • Brain death, which is when the brain stops working completely, and therefore, the person will never recover. This usually happens due to accidents, falls or after a stroke. In this case, virtually all he althy organs and tissues can be donated;
  • After cardiac arrest, such as infarction or arrhythmias: in this case, they can only donate tissues, such as cornea, vessels, skin, bones and tendons, as the circulation has stopped for a while, this can impair the functioning of organs, such as the heart and kidneys, for example;
  • People who died at home, can only donate their corneas, and up to 6 hours after death, because stopped blood circulation can damage other organs, putting the life of the person who would receive it;
  • In case of anencephaly, which is when the baby has a malformation and does not have a brain: in this case, there is a short life span and, after confirmation of death, all your organs and tissues can be donated to other babies in need.

There is no age limit for donating organs, but it is essential that they are working perfectly, as the donor's he alth condition will determine whether the organs and tissues can be transplanted or not.

Who cannot donate

The donation of organs and tissues is not allowed for people who died due to infectious diseases or who have seriously damaged the body, as the organ's function may be compromised or the infection may be transferred to the person who will receive the organ.

Thus, the donation is not indicated for people who have had severe kidney failure or liver, heart or lung failure, as in these cases there is great impairment of circulation and functioning of these organs, in addition to metastatic cancer and infectious diseases and transmissible, such as HIV, hepatitis B, C or Chagas disease, for example.In addition, organ donation is contraindicated in cases of serious infections by bacteria or viruses that have reached the bloodstream.

Organ donation is also contraindicated if the potential donor is in a coma. However, if brain death is confirmed after performing some tests, the donation can be made.

How the transplant is done

After authorization from the donor or his family, he will undergo tests that will assess his he alth conditions and compatibility with the person who will receive it. The organ is removed in a surgical center, as in other surgeries, and then the donor's body will be carefully closed by the surgeon.

The recovery of a person who has received an organ or tissue transplant is the same as that of any surgery, with rest and use of pain medication, such as Ibuprofen or Dipyrone, for example.However, in addition to this, the person will have to take drugs called immunosuppressants, throughout life, to avoid rejection of the new organ by the body.

You can only choose who will receive the organs and tissues when the donation is made during life. Otherwise, you will receive whoever is on the waiting list in the transplant center queue, in order of waiting time and need.

What you can donate in life

The organs and tissues that can be donated while still alive are the kidney, part of the liver, bone marrow and blood. This is possible because the donor will be able to lead a normal life even after these donations.


Only part of the liver, about 4 cm, can be donated through this surgery, and recovery is the same as a minor abdominal surgery in a few days. Due to its ability to regenerate, this organ reaches its ideal size in about 30 days, and the donor person will be able to have a normal life, without harm to their he alth.


Kidney donation does not harm the donor person's life, and it takes place for a few hours. Recovery is fast and, if all goes well, in up to 1 or 2 weeks, you can be at home and return to medical appointments is made for follow-up.

In addition, for the donation of part of the liver and kidney, the person will have to authorize this donation, which can only be made to a relative of up to the fourth degree or, if it is for non-relatives, only with the authorization of the justice. The donation of these organs is made after a thorough evaluation by a general practitioner, through physical, blood and imaging exams, such as computed tomography, which will check if there is genetic and blood compatibility, and if the donor is he althy, to reduce the chances of harm your body and who will receive the transplant.

Bone marrow

To donate bone marrow, it is necessary to register in the database of the national registry of bone marrow donors, of the Ministry of He alth, which will contact the donor if someone in need is compatible.The procedure is very simple, with anesthesia, and lasts about 90 minutes, and the discharge can happen the next day. Learn more about the steps for donating bone marrow.


This donation collects about 450 ml of blood, which can only be done by people over 50 kg, and the person can donate blood every 3 months for men and 4 months for women. To donate blood, you should look for the blood center of the city at any time, as these donations are always necessary for the treatment of many people, in surgeries or emergencies. Find out which diseases prevent blood donation.

The donation of blood and bone marrow can be made several times and to different people, with no limits as long as the person wants and is he althy for it.

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