Pittsburgh's organ procurement organization (OPO) plans to revolutionize the life-saving transplant process in western Pennsylvania, making it faster cheaper, and safer for medical transplant teams and organ recipients.
Here's how it works: Staff members from the Center for Organ Recovery and Education will travel to any of 150 area hospitals where a donor has been declared brain-dead. If the family agrees, CORE workers will transport the body to a newly remodeled surgical facility northeast of the city. All the while, skilled teams will maintain the donor's heart rhythm so the organs remain viable for transplant.
The donor's organs will be removed in CORE's surgical suites rather than in the originating hospital where organ recovery from brain-dead donors competes with surgeries on living patients for expensive operating room time and resources.
CORE is the fourth organ procurement organization to take this streamlined approach to the transplant process in the U.S., a program it says removes much of the inefficiency and cost, as well as the hassle, out of the complex sequence of organ donation.
The Pittsburgh group joins Donor Alliance in Denver, which launched its procurement center in 2012; Gift of Life in Ann Arbor, which began leasing surgical space three years ago; and the oldest, Mid-America Transplant Services (MTS) of St. Louis, which built a special building to receive brain dead donors in 2001. In its 13 years, MTS says it has enabled transplant centers' surgeons to recover more than 1,000 organs.