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.