Tag Archives: donating a kidney

Being A Kidney Donor

Being A Kidney Donor

Being A Kidney Donor

What it’s like to Live with One Kidney


Being A Kidney DonorIf you’re considering being a kidney donor, one of the most probable concerns you’ll have is about living a normal life after surgery.

As you’ll be technically giving out one of your organs to someone else, questions involving your health and safety will sure pop in your mind.

Are there long term effects of having only one kidney?

In general, people who have donated one of their kidneys can live life normally. In fact, their life span is considered the same as those who have both organs intact. Very few people experience long-term complications such as high blood pressure and a decrease in renal function later in life.

The screening and assessment prior to donation are what help minimize potential long term effects. If you have an existing kidney disease or if you are suffering from diabetes and heart problems, pursuing kidney donation can surely predispose you to long term debilitating effects. In contrast, if you are found to be fit and in top shape, there’s very little chance that you’ll experience problems post surgery.

Do I need to always see my doctor?

For kidney donors, it’s essential that you see your doctor at least every year. This is to help keep track of you and your kidney’s health. You’ll need to submit to annual urine and blood tests to prevent or, if not diagnose, early complications.

Should I change my diet?

There’s no strict need for you to change your diet radically. However, to ensure your optimum health, it’s still best if you can stay away from foods that have high potassium and sodium content. It can also help if you can limit your sugar and fat intake. These changes won’t only keep your kidney healthy but it can also boost your general health.

In case you’re confused about the food you should and shouldn’t be eating, you can always consult your doctor or your dietitian. He can create the right diet plan based on your activity level and nutritional demands.

Can I participate in contact sports?

There’s no arguing how important exercise and physical activities are. For people who have donated their kidneys or those who have been born with only one kidney, it’s essential to avoid extreme physical sports to protect the remaining organ. Wrestling, extreme martial arts and football are some of the activities you should not engage yourself in.

If skipping these types of activity is out of the equation, make sure that you always wear your protective gears. Padded vests are good examples. Before you start participating in contact sports, it’s best if you can consult your doctors first to a get a clearance or if there are any precautions you’ll need to take to protect your remaining kidney.

Being A Kidney Donor may not be much different than living with two kidneys.

Kidney Donation

Kidney Donation

Kidney DonationKidney Donation

An Overview of the Recipient’s Surgery


Are you interested in a kidney donation? Undergoing surgery, particularly offering a kidney donation and transplant, can be an overwhelming experience. Aside from worrying about possible risks and complications, the anxiety of the actual surgery can really make you feel uneasy.

To help address your concerns, here’s a brief overview of what you should and shouldn’t expect if you’re scheduled for a transplant:

  • Once you receive a confirmation call from the kidney transplant center about your surgery, it’s recommended that you stop eating or drinking right away. This is a common preparation for all patients who will be undergoing an operation.
  • Upon arrival to the hospital, you should expect another round of tests and laboratory examinations to make sure that there aren’t any infections or medical conditions that can complicate the surgery.
  • After you’ve been cleared, physical preparations will be done. This usually includes the administration of enema and laxatives to clear out your digestive track. Shaving of the area can also be carried out to limit the chances of infection.
  • An intravenous line will be started. This is where fluids and prophylactic antibiotics will be given. If needed, this intravenous line will also serve as the main line for blood transfusion.

Because anxiety is a common reaction of transplant patients, and a sedative is often ordered to help them calm down. As for the actual surgery, you will be placed under general anesthesia, which means you’ll be asleep throughout the surgery. The whole operation is expected to last for around 3 hours, but of course this depends on each patient.

After surgery, pain should be expected. To ensure your comfort, however, an analgesic will be administered to you. Aside from the pain, you should also expect to wake up to an intact intravenous line, a Foley catheter for your urine and a possible drain in the surgical area.

You may need to spend several days to a full week in the hospital for close monitoring and recovery. After you’ve been discharged, you need to strictly adhere to your check up schedule so your doctors will know right away if there’s any transplant reactions.

Most doctors advise their patients to take an immunosuppressive drug after surgery to limit reactions. Usually, this medication is a life-long commitment. Because you’ll be lowering your immune response, you’ll also be more at risk for infections and other disease. To ensure your optimum health, you may also be required to take antiviral and antibacterial medications.

If the transplant fails, you can either choose to stick with hemodialysis or go for another round of transplant surgery. There is also the option to deny further treatments. Whatever you choose, make sure that you consider your health, your capability to undergo another surgery and the right kidney donation source.



Kidney Transplantation

Kidney Donation

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Dr Lisa

Kidney Donation

Kidney Donation_liveWith time, the increasing numbers of the patients are awaiting the kidney transplantation. Each year, the number of kidney transplants is less than the number of new patients on the waiting list. In this situation, all sources of grafts are important and must be developed in parallel. The available data shows that renal transplantation from living donors is an effective option for the patient and safe for the donor. Can a live kidney donation work for you?

Life of Donated Kidney

Transplanted kidney has a life span. It doesn’t live as long as your own kidney. But still, it is the best option for a patient suffering from Chronic Renal Failure (CRF). A kidney donated from a cadaver doesn’t live as long as a kidney from live donor, but still it is a very good option. A kidney from cadaver on average has a life span of 10-15 years. While a kidney from a live donor live for about 15-20 years. More information on a kidney donation is here.

Donation after death

When the brain ceases to function because of the injuries, illness or accident and the person cannot be saved, the intact organs and tissues can help the other people. In Estonia, the transplant of organs and tissues is possible only from cadavers.

Brain death means the condition in which the human brain has permanently ceased to function and the heart and breathing are artificially supported by various devices and medicines. If you turn off the devices or stop the medicines, it will stop these vital functions. Brain death is diagnosed after a whole range of tests with the participation of several medical specialists. After brain death, the cadaver can still help the society: four people can get new organs (two kidneys, one liver and two lungs), two cornea and a few others will be able to get help from transplantation of blood vessels and bone.

Living Donors

The donor kidney may be a close relative of the patient who is in need of a kidney. A relative can donate a kidney only after voluntary consent. Donating a kidney does not hurt the donor since the remaining kidney has very high ability to compensate. The remaining kidney will enlarge itself and enhance its functional capabilities. If a person has at least one healthy kidney, it can easily clean your body without any disturbances. People who have donated a kidney for transplant should avoid certain risk factors, such as smoking and obesity. They should also monitor the blood pressure. Living with one healthy kidney does not impose any restrictions; the donor can live perfectly normal and active life.

The part of body which is most often subjected to donation is the kidney. Of all transplants performed, it is the kidney transplant which has the highest rate of success. Other organs can also be donated by a live donor e.g. part of a liver, a lung, small intestine and pancreas.

Some of the advantages of a living organ donation

The surgery for removal of the organ and the transplant can be planned only when the donor and recipient are in the best health possible. This will help ensure that the transplanted organ is also in the most optimal conditions. In the case of a live donation, the time that elapses between collection and kidney transplantation is shorter than in the case of a donation from a deceased person. This can help renal graft function better and / or longer.

The waiting time required for an organ to become available is shorter when it comes from a living donor. Kidney donation save the person from need of dialysis, so make the resources available for those who have not yet received a donor kidney.

Best kidney survival

Three major reasons for the best kidney survival when it comes from a live donor:

ü  A kidney transplanted from a living donor remains functional for a longer period of time. This is because we have more time to do the necessary tests in order to obtain better tissue matching between donor and recipient. Better compatibility reduces the risk of tissue rejection.

ü  The kidney is usually healthier. The kidney from a living donor is usually healthier than a kidney from a deceased donor and can remain longer functional: 15 to 20 years on average compared to 10-15 years for a kidney from a deceased donor. This was mainly due to the fact that the donor is subject to extensive testing to check that his kidney function is excellent.

ü  The kidney starts working immediately. Usually a kidney from a living donor immediately starts to function in the recipient. If there is a kidney from a deceased donor, it can take days and weeks before the kidney begins to function normally. In the meantime, the recipient may still need dialysis for some time after receiving a kidney form cadaver.

A sense of satisfaction

For the living donors, it is very rewarding to know that they have contributed to help another person who otherwise might have lived a miserable life.