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This woman is pictured holding her own heart after successful transplant. 

Worldwide, about 3,500 heart transplants were performed annually, but about 800,000 people have a Class IV heart defect indicating a new organ. These numbers show the lack of donors impressively.

The most common procedure is to take a working heart from a recently deceased organ donor (cadaveric allograft) and implant it into the patient. The patient’s own heart is either removed (orthotopic procedure) or, less commonly, left in place to support the donor heart (heterotopic procedure).

Post-operation survival periods averaged 15 years. Heart transplantation is not considered to be a cure for heart disease, but a life-saving treatment intended to improve the quality of life for recipients.

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This incredible medical breakthrough could allow trans women to carry children
Trans women who want to carry children may very soon be able to, thanks to a groundbreaking Ohio clinic. Uterus transplants have been successfully conducted in Sweden, but the Cleveland Clinic has been working on carrying out the procedure for the first time in the United States, according to the New York Times — allowing women "who were born without a uterus, had it removed, or have uterine damage" to be able to carry children. Women will be able to have a uterus transplanted, then removed after one or two babies are delivered so the subject doesn't have to keep taking anti-rejection medication. This could be absolutely revolutionary for women who are unable to have children on due to uterine factor infertility. "I crave that experience," a 26-year-old woman in the Cleveland Clinic's screening process told New York Times. The woman was born with ovaries but without a uterus. "I want the morning sickness, the backaches, the feet swelling. I want to feel ...

Experiments With Zebrafish Reveal Chemicals That Could Improve Bone Marrow Transplants

Using large-scale zebrafish drug-screening models, researchers at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital have identified a potent group of chemicals that helps bone marrow transplants engraft or “take.”

The findings, published July 23 in Nature, could lead to human trials in patients with cancer and blood disorders within a year or two, said senior investigator Leonard Zon, professor of stem cell and regenerative biology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University.


Supporters of the study include the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Institutes of Health (1R01HL04880, Z01 ES025034, P50-NS40828, P30-HD18655, ROCA148633-01A5), the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Care-for-Rare Foundation. 

Amelia, who has a rare genetic condition called Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, does have intellectual disabilities, along with various physical problems. But the Riveras found it shocking and unacceptable that her mental capacity could determine whether she lived or died.

Disabled N.J. girl thrives, inspires after transplant. Amelia’s story shines light on medical care gap for people with intellectual disabilities.

Amelia Rivera was denied a kidney transplant because she was deemed “mentally retarded,” but her parents advocated for her, and she’s now doing well with her mother’s transplanted kidney. 

Having an intellectual disability - or any kind of disability - does not mean you should be denied access to the same health care that a nondisabled person would have.

This baboon with a pig heart could save your life

A pig heart has been beating away in the body of a  baboon for 945 days — and it could be the key to saving human lives with animal parts. Xenotransplantation, the process of transferring an organ from one species to another, is nothing new. But thanks to a regime of immunosuppressive therapy drugs, five genetically modified pig hearts put into different baboons stayed alive. It’s exciting, but potentially dangerous.

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Double hand transplant carried out in the UK for first time
Chris King has become the first person in the UK to receive two hand transplants, in an operation that took eight surgeons 12 hours to complete
By New Scientist staff and Press Association

For the first time in the UK, a person has received a double hand transplant.

Chris King lost both his hands, except his thumbs, in a work accident involving a metal pressing machine three years ago. He has now been given two hands from a donor – an operation that took eight surgeons 12 hours to complete.

Around 80 hand transplants have been performed worldwide, including one previous operation in the UK. The surgery involves joining the recipient arm and donor hand bones together using titanium plates and screws, before connecting tendons, muscles, blood vessels and nerves.

“They look absolutely tremendous,” said King. “They’re my hands. They are really my hands. My blood’s going through them. My tendons are attached. They’re mine.”

Simon Kay led the surgical team at Leeds General Infirmary, and has a waiting list of four other people hoping for hand transplants. When any further operations will take place will depend on the availability of donor hands. “Because hand transplantation is such an unusual thing, people have been slow to donate,” said Kay.

There is no option to donate limbs on the NHS Organ Donation Register, so for each operation specific permission is sought from the families of potential donors after their death. “It’s extraordinarily difficult to ask and extraordinarily difficult to make that decision,” said Kay.

When choosing a match, the main focus is on blood group, skin tone and hand size. But due to the complex nature of the procedure, recipients are also screened for psychological suitability before undergoing the operation.

Last December, Lamont Valentin died on a New York City bus, because doctors refused to give him a lung transplant. They didn’t refuse because he was too old (he was 29), or because he smoked (he never touched a cigarette), or because he was unmotivated (he had a wife and a two year old son). And they didn’t refuse because they doubted he could juggle the complex drug regimen (he had decades of experience under his belt). They refused because he had HIV.

Why This Man Was Refused a New Lung: People with HIV are still excluded from some life-saving organ transplants, based on guidelines that omit the most current science.

From people with intellectual disabilities to people with HIV…transplant decision-makers discriminate.