Genetics of Organ Transplants
Genetics is very important in organ transplant matching. Everyone has different genes and some are just not compatible with others, therefore analyzing the genes are very important in predicting if a new organ, for example a heart, is going to be fully functional in a recipient's body. The following three source look at genetics and how it contributes to more individuals being placed on the waiting list for an organ donor, how the organs are matched, and how genetics could further be used in the future to match donor and recipients even more closely.
Topic 1:Genetic Diseases that can Contribute to the Need of Organ Transplants
An individual who is experiencing organ failure is most likely in the need of an organ transplant. The United States Department of Health and Human Services recognizes in a lot of cases organ failure can be the result of a genetic disease. Examples of these diseases are cystic fibrosis, diabetes, hypertension, and polycystic kidney disease. These genetic diseases are from genes that parents passed on to their offspring. If individuals with these diseases are in the need of an organ transplant then normally they have a high expressivity of the diseases. These genetic diseases can cause an individual's organ become worn out or destroyed. Based on the severity of the destruction determines a patient's spot on the national registry for a particular organ. However, in a patient with a genetic disease like cystic fibrosis that is in the need of a lung transplant may start out towards the bottom of the registry list and as time passes and there is more damage contributing the dysfunction of the lungs they will move up the registry (US Department of Health and Human Services).
Topic 2: The Genetic Factors in Organ Transplants
Topic 3: Genetics in Rejection
After an organ transplant immunosuppressive drugs are prescribed for the recipient as a way to prevent the body from recognizing the donor organ as not its own. These drugs can help prevent genes creating a huge problem in causing the body to reject the organ. However, at the same time these drugs suppress the immune system so the body unfortunately becomes more prone to infections. The genetics of both the donor and the recipient are analyzed and compared in the form of HLA compatibility, ethnicity, as well has past history of transplants. In fact, a new study out of Germany reports that more genetic variants between the donor and the recipient can contribute a sum of complications after the transplant some include delayed graft function, acute rejection, long term dysfunctions, and even death. Perhaps in the future genome wide associations studies could be done to help avoid these life threatening complications by identify genes that will not contribute to further problems (Krüger, 2011).
Future Use and Importance to Nursing Profession
Unfortunately there will probably always be organ failure, it is because of this that organ matching will continue to be analysed and will continue to evolve. It is likely that in the future more genetic components will be factored into finding compatible matches as more studies are done and advances in technology are developed to increase the speed of these test (Krüger, 2011) .
It is important for a nurse to know about the process of organ transplantation as well as the genetic factors that contribute to matching and organ failure. Nurses have to be able to educate both the patient and the patients family about what is happening and how in order for the transplant to work successfully the most compatible match has to be found. It is important for the patient to understand this so they do not feel like they are being discriminated towards by having to wait longer than other individual on the list for an organ. The family needs to be well educated because due to their genetic makeup being similar to the patient they could potentially donate a kidney or part of their liver to the patient. Nurses are the patients go to person for questions and for expressing their worries and concerns. It is extremely important nurses should be well educated on the organ transplant process.
Know the Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2014, from http://www.core.org/understanding-donation/know-the-facts/
Krüger, B., & Schröppel, B. (2011). Genetic Variations and Transplant Outcomes. Nephron Clinical Practice, C49-C54.
Organ Transplantation: The Process. (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2014, from http://organdonor.gov/about/transplantationprocess.html