As with everything else there are exceptions, but for the most part, the majority of people are good candidates for kidney donation and most can live happy, healthy lives with only one kidney.
Tuesday, Dr. Michael Casey with the Division of Nephrology, Hypertension and Renal Transplantation at the University of Florida explained to members of the Williston Rotary Club what causes renal failure and how transplants are preferable to a lifetime of dialysis.
Kidneys fail for many reasons, Casey said, including hypertension, diabetes, infection, kidney stones and Glano- nephritis. Once they do, patients either have dialysis three times a week or they wait for a transplant.
Casey said transplantation is the optimum solution and patients who survive the first 100 days after surgery are at a lesser risk of dying than those who undergo dialysis.
Most often, the transplant is done laprascopically and the new kidney is grafted into an artery in the abdomen while the original non-functioning kidneys are left in place. Patients must take immunosuppression drugs as long as they have the kidney so the body doesn’t think it is a foreign object and reject it, he said.
A typical surgery last three hours and the patient stays five to seven days in the hospital, while the donor’s stay is usually three days.
Kidneys can come from cadavers or living donors and making a match is dependent on blood type, the doctor said.
When the match is a living donor, whether a relative or non-relative, there are numerous advantages, including scheduling, higher success rates, avoidance of waiting and less risk of rejection.
Casey said a kidney from a cadaver might last 10-12 years, where a living donor kidney can last 16-18 years, although he has known people with an “exceptional” kidney that has lasted 30 years.
First and foremost, the doctor said, “Let your family know you are an organ donor.”