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Here are the most common definitions related to organ, eye, and tissue donation as it pertains to the State of Virginia.

Brain death

The irreversible and permanent cessation of all brain function.

Clinical trigger

A mutually agreed upon referral criteria established between the hospital and the organ procurement organization (OPO) which prompts a hospital provider to make referrals to their OPO. This ensures that each family is offered the option of organ, eye and tissue donation and/or the donor designation is honored.

Conversion rate

All recovered organ donors divided by eligible deaths. The national benchmark is 75%.


A complex blood test that is performed prior to the transplant to determine if the donor organ is compatible with the intended recipient. If the crossmatch is “positive“, then the donor and recipient are incompatible. If the cross match is “negative," the transplant may proceed.

Deceased donor

A person who has been declared dead and whose organ or organs and/or tissues are used for transplantation.

Donation after Circulatory Death/DCD

Donation after circulatory death is the recovery of organs after circulation has ceased. DCD occurs when a patient’s care is futile, and the patient is to be removed from all medical life-sustaining measures and supports.

Donor hospital

A hospital from which patients are monitored by trained staff to recover organs, eyes or tissue for donation.

Donor Service Area

Each Organ Procurement Organization (OPO) provides services to the transplant programs inits area. An OPO’s donation service area can include a portion of a city, a portion of a state or an entire state, or more than one state. Presently, when most organs become available, a list of candidates is generated from the OPO’s local service area. If a patient match is not made in that local area, a wider, regional list of potential candidates is generated, followed by a national list.

Eye Bank

An eye bank is an organization that obtains, medically evaluates and distributes donated eyes for corneal transplantation and research.

First person consent

State laws ensuring legal authority to proceed with organ procurement without consent from the family based on a legal indication of the deceased's consent for donation, such as on a driver's license or other official document.


A transplanted organ or tissue.

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  It is the primary federal agency for improving health care to people who are geographically isolated, economically or medically vulnerable. HRSA oversees organ, bone marrow and cord blood donation and various other programs to help those in need of high quality health care.

Histocompatibility Antigens

Markers found on cells in the body that are unique to each individual. Known also as human leukocyte antigens (HLAs), these are inherited from one’s parents. A person’s immune system uses HLA markers to differentiate self from non-self.


The use of drugs to reduce the body’s ability to recognize the transplanted organ as a foreign body and reject the transplanted organ. A combination of immunosuppressant medications is individual to the patient, as determined by their transplant team.


A condition that occurs when a foreign substance enters the body, causing the immune system to fight the intruder. Transplant recipients can get infections more easily because their immune systems are suppressed.

Ischemic time

The time the transplanted organ is without blood circulation.

Living donor

A person that donates a kidney or part of a lung, liver or pancreas to another person. A living donor may be related or unrelated, if consent is provided and matching of organs is acceptable.

Non-directed donation

Non-directed living donors are not related to or known by the recipient, but donate purely from selfless motives. This type of donation is also called anonymous or altruistic donation.

Organ Procurement Organization (OPO)

The organization responsible for the recovery, preservation and transportation of organs for transplantation. As a resource to their communities, OPOs educate the public about the critical need for organ donation.

Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN)

The OPTN operates the national network for organ procurement and allocation and works to promote organ donation. Through its policies, the OPTN works to ensure that all patients have a fair chance at receiving the organ they need, regardless of age, sex, race, lifestyle, religion or financial or social status.  The current OPTN contractor is the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS).

Organ Donation

Donation of solid vascular organs, including heart, right and left lung, liver (can potentially be split for two recipients), left and right kidney, pancreas and intestine.

Organ recovery

The act of surgically removing an organ from a donor for transplantation.

Paired exchange donation

This donation consists of two or more kidney donor/recipient pairs whose blood types are not compatible. The two recipients trade donors so that each recipient can receive a kidney with a compatible blood type.


The process of keeping organs viable between procurement and transplantation.


The body’s attempt to destroy the transplanted organ or tissue because it is foreign. Immunosuppressive medications help prevent rejection, and may reverse this process, if identified quickly.

Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR)

The purpose of this registry is to provide ongoing research to evaluate information about donors, transplant candidates and recipients, as well as patient and graft survival rates. The SRTR operates under Federal Contract.

Tissue Bank

An establishment that collects and recovers human cadaver tissue for the purpose of medical research, education and transplantation.

Tissue Donation

Donation of human tissue is taken from a deceased donor that is processed and ultimately transplanted into another person to enhance their quality of life. Tissue includes bone, cartilage, fascia, heart valves, pericardium, skin, veins, tendons, joints and nerves.


A surgical operation to give a functioning organ to someone whose organ has stopped working or is close to failing.

Transplant hospital

A hospital that performs transplants, including evaluating patients for transplant, registering patients on the national waiting list, performing surgery and providing care before and after transplant.

Uniform Anatomical Gift Act

An act established by the federal government in the 1960s to standardized state laws on donation of organs and tissues from deceased donors. The act allows anyone 18 years of age or older to donate any or all of their organs upon death.

United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)

A private, non-profit organization that serves the organ procurement and transplantation network to oversee organ donation, allocation and transplantation in the United States. UNOS serves as the OPTN under contract with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Vascular Composite Allografts (VCA)

VCAs are transplantation of multiple structures that may include skin, bone, muscle, blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. VCA transplants have restored vital function to patients with severe injuries and disfigurement, burns, malformations and illness.

Waiting List

After evaluation by the transplant team, a patient is added to the national waiting list by the transplant center. Lists are specific to organ type. Each time a donor organ becomes available, the UNOS system generates a list of candidates based on factors that include genetic similarity, organ size, medical urgency, proximity of the donor to potential recipients and time on the waiting list. Through this process, the best possible patients are matched to a donated organ.

Contact Your Nearest Transplant Center

Charlottesville, VA

University of Virginia Transplant Center
1215 Lee Street, Charlottesville, 22903

Adult: heart, kidney, lung, pancreas, kidney/pancreas, liver
Pediatric: heart, liver, kidney

Norfolk, VA

Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
600 Gresham Drive, Norfolk, 23507

Adult: heart, kidney, pancreas

Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters
601 Children’s Lane, Norfolk, 23507

Pediatric: kidney

Northern VA

Inova Fairfax Hospital
8110 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church, 22042

Adult: heart, kidney, lung, pancreas, kidney/pancreas

Richmond, VA

Virginia Transplant Center, Henrico Doctors’ Hospital
1602 Skipwith Road, Richmond, 23229

Adult: kidney

Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center
1201 Broad Rock Boulevard, Richmond, 23249

Adult: heart

VCU Health Hume-Lee Transplant Center
1250 East Marshall Street, Richmond 23298

Adult: kidney, liver, pancreas, heart
Pediatric: kidney

DLVA Locations Map

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