Please note that this page is intend­ed for hos­pi­tal pro­fes­sion­als. If you reached this page by mis­take, please return to our home­page.

Organ Recov­ery

The organ recov­ery process is coor­di­nat­ed by Iowa Donor Net­work. The donor is tak­en to the oper­at­ing room and prepped for surgery after the trans­plant sur­gi­cal team(s) arrives to the donor hos­pi­tal. The trans­plant surgeon(s) involved in the recov­ery pre­pare the organs for removal through one cen­tral­ized inci­sion. Once organs are pre­pared, a cold preser­va­tion solu­tion is infused through the organs via can­nu­las placed by the trans­plant sur­geons. Organs are typ­i­cal­ly removed from the donor in the fol­low­ing order depend­ing on which organs will be trans­plant­ed: heart, lungs, liv­er, small bow­el, pan­creas, and kid­neys. After organs are removed, the trans­plant surgeon(s) will fur­ther exam­ine the anato­my of the organs to ensure that they are trans­plantable. The Iowa Donor Net­work coor­di­na­tors are then respon­si­ble for the pack­ag­ing of the organs accord­ing to stan­dards set by the Unit­ed Net­work for Organ Shar­ing (UNOS). The entire organ recov­ery process typ­i­cal­ly aver­ages 6 – 8 hours depend­ing on which organs are being recov­ered. After organs are removed, the inci­sion is sur­gi­cal­ly closed and does not inter­fere with an open-cas­ket funeral.

This entire process must be care­ful­ly coor­di­nat­ed due to the lim­it­ed amount of time that the organ remains viable for trans­plant. In addi­tion, the recip­i­ent trans­plant surg­eries must be care­ful­ly coor­di­nat­ed with the recov­ery of the organs. There­fore, recip­i­ents’ surg­eries are often start­ed dur­ing or imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the recov­ery of the organs from the donor.

The recov­ery of organs in the hospital’s oper­at­ing room does require a com­plete oper­at­ing room staff includ­ing an anes­the­si­ol­o­gist or cer­ti­fied nurse anes­thetist and at least one cir­cu­la­tor and one scrub tech­ni­cian from the hos­pi­tal. Addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion on sup­plies need­ed and how to set up the oper­at­ing room for the organ recov­ery are avail­able below.

Addi­tion­al Resources:

Organ Recov­ery OR Room Set Up

Our Vision:

All are inspired to donate life.