Experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center said organ donations help them extend the quality of life to patients and families.

The institution relies on respected medical leaders, offering expert care ranging from prevention to transplants and accepts referrals from around the region.

Learning about the process before an emergency is important, said Dr. Mark Drazner, Clinical Chief of Cardiology and Medical Director of Heart Failure, LVAD, and Cardiac Transplantation Program.

He also serves as a professor of internal medicine.

“Unfortunately, there are many people with advanced organ failure, including heart failure, who are on the transplant list but are never able to receive an organ because there simply is not enough donations,” he said by email. “So organ donation really is a life-saving event. Not only that, but most recipients are restored to a very high quality of life and can thoroughly enjoy this ‘gift of life.'”

People who want to participate in organ donation should make their wishes known.

“It is much better if people let their loved ones know their preferences about donation so those can be followed,” Drazner said. “In an emergency, you will no longer be able to communicate your preferences regarding organ donation. That can make it very stressful on your relatives to decide whether they should allow donation or not.”

By discussing the topic ahead of time, it removes stress from relatives and makes it much easier on them to decide what to do.

“It is a real tragedy if you would have wanted to be an organ donor, but your relatives weren’t aware of those wishes, and they do not grant permission,” the physician said. “That unfortunate scenario, which is avoidable if people just make their wishes known, literally can have life and death consequences for many potential organ recipients.”

The institution has a strong success rate, said Carol Marie Cropper, senior communications specialist.

“UT Southwestern’s one- and three-year survival rates for heart transplant patients exceed the national average, at 91.5 percent and 87.5 percent, respectively,” she said. “The national averages for heart transplant survival at the one- and three-year markers are: one year – 90.36 percent, three years – 84.33 percent.”

To learn more about Southwestern’s transplant program, visit,

- Jacque Hilburn-Simmons 




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