Current Status of Organ Transplantation in Japan

American Journal of Transplantation - Volume 12, Issue 3, pages 523–530, March 2012

To overcome severe donor shortage, Japanese doctors over the years have developed innovative strategies to maximize organs transplanted per brain death donor and expanded the donor pool using living donors. They also used living and marginal organs and drastically improved living donor lung, liver, pancreas and kidney transplantations. Moreover, they initiated ABO blood type incompatible liver transplantation advancements and succeeded in overcoming the blood type barrier in kidney and liver transplantations. Similar efforts are underway for pancreas transplantation. Furthermore, Japanese doctors have developed a nonaggressive step to achieve immunosuppression following organ transplantation by carefully monitoring donor-specific hyporesponsiveness and infectious immunostatus. However, the institution of amendments to allocation systems and the intensification of efforts to decrease living donor morbidity and to increase the number of brain death donors have remained important issues needing attention. Overall, the strategies Japan has adopted to overcome donor shortage can provide useful insights on how to increase organ transplantations.

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