In the organ transplant process, logistics is all-important

Getting any type of organ, tissue or graft from point A to point B is a challenge, as anyone familiar with the U.S. transplant coordination system will acknowledge.

What IS the ideal method of getting an organ to its final destination?  That depends on a number of factors: the origination point, the type of organ being transported, and the specific logistics of the journey.

The intricacies of logistics must be executed to the rhythm of a ticking clock. In fact, the transportation of transplant organs requires seamless coordination between the donor hospital, the Organ Procurement Organization (OPO), and the transplant center.

How long can organs remain viable outside the body? Called CIT, or cold ischemic time, the longer an organ or graft CIT, the greater the likelihood of transplant problems, including delayed graft function (DGF) or organ loss.

According to

  • Heart: 4-6 hours
  • Lungs: 4-6 hours
  • Liver: 8-12 hours
  • Intestines: 8-16 hours
  • Pancreas: 12-18 hours
  • Kidney: 24-36 hours

Even with the intricate and highly specialized care every organ gets — carefully preserved using special solutions, wrapped, packed in ice, and some, generally lungs and kidneys, even put on machines during their transport – organ loss remains a concern.

With all the technology the U.S. has at our disposal, how can we do better?

When an organ arrives at its intended transplant center, it is carefully evaluated for functionality and ideal pairing with the intended recipient. The transplant team looks for possible problems such as organ scarring and disfunction related to the original donor. They also look for organ tissue disfunction related to (possible) protracted transport time, including

  • atrophy of the organ resulting from prolonged exposure to transport cold
  • air pressure changes during air flight
  • considerable geographic variation in the odds of discard across the United States, from weather-related and traffic delays, to miscommunication between hand-offs.

While some discard of organs is necessary for the health of the transplant patient, there is a need for more organs to be donated to replace those found to be non-viable. (You can find your local donor network under our Resource section for details.)

Bottom line? There is a dramatic opportunity to improve access to organs by optimizing the logistics of organ transportation, including

  • Real time monitoring
  • Updated ETA data on every shipment
  • Reducing miscommunication delays
  • Ensuring care teams are ready – without expensive OR waits and delays.

Based on research of transplant data from all over the U.S., medical logistics provider MediGO has created new and more efficient methods of coordinating transplant resources.

Powered by proprietary algorithms and machine learning, MediGO now provides the most accurate tracking and time-of-arrival coordination in the industry.

The result? More healthy organ donations reaching more organ recipients, producing more life-changing outcomes.