As a general rule, you must be 18 years of age or older. You should also have normal kidney function. There are some medical conditions that could prevent you from being a living donor. These include having uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV, hepatitis, or acute infections.
To be a donor, you must be at least 18 years old. The best candidates do not have any serious illnesses, are not overweight or smoke. You can be approved as long as you lose weight or agree to stop smoking before surgery. Some donors also feel more in touch with their own health and feel committed to taking good care of themselves after kidney donation surgery.
Your parents, adult children, siblings, other relatives, in-laws, and close friends may be considered for living kidney donation. Sometimes people offer themselves as a living donor without a designated recipient and donate a kidney to someone they don't know. I hadn't met anyone in my life with kidney problems, or who needed an organ transplant, but I knew that only one kidney is needed to live. This type of surgery uses smaller incisions, causes less scarring, and may mean a shorter recovery time from kidney donation.
You may be a candidate for a kidney transplant if your doctor* has diagnosed you with renal failure or end-stage kidney disease. However, transplants from living donors are more successful compared to kidneys from deceased donors because these kidneys come from living donors. Sometimes the kidney is lost due to rejection, surgical complications, or the original disease that caused the recipient's kidney to fail. Non-directed donors, or altruistic donors, are people who choose to donate a kidney to an unknown recipient.
The UNOS Q&A brochure for transplant candidates on kidney allocation delves into the kidney allocation system. The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive and oldest organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease. A Johns Hopkins transplant surgeon led a study to monitor long-term survival among living kidney donors and found that long-term mortality was similar or lower in living kidney donors than in the general public. This is especially important in a targeted donation to make sure your kidney matches that of the person receiving it.
Due to the number of people on the kidney waiting list and the shortage of deceased donor organs, the waiting period for a deceased donor kidney can be several years.
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Independent Living Donor, Living-Donor Kidney Transplant, Receiving A Kidney, National Kidney Registry.
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Living kidney donation, considering kidney donation
Kidney transplant (KT), is the transfer of a kidney into a patient with end stage renal disease. It is considered as a treatment of choice in patients whom both kidneys have left functioning properly. Kidney transplant is typically divided into two categories i.e. deceased donor transplant (cadaveric) and living donor transplant. Living donor transplant is further divided into genetically related (living-related) and unrelated (living unrelated) transplant, depending upon whether a blood relation exists between the donor and the recipient.
When is a Kidney Transplant Needed?
A person’s both kidneys are not usually removed and replaced with a single kidney unless there is a medical reason to do so. Kidney transplantation becomes necessary when renal failure becomes irreversible. When both the kidneys of a person stop functioning as in end stage renal disease (ESRD), considering kidney transplant becomes inevitable. A transplant is not done in acute kidney disease, when a kidney is failed and the other is still functioning properly.
Why a Transplant Is Needed in ESRD?
Acute kidney injury may be managed with regular dialysis however, it is not feasible in case of kidney failure. As dialysis is a painful procedure, replaces some degree of filtration of waste products, and is needed to be carried out on regular basis, a permanent solution is needed to address the problem.
Kidney transplantation when a suitable donor is available and no contraindications are present, offers the best treatment option for the complete rehabilitation of a patient.
Patients with renal failure who receive a kidney transplant are shown to live a long healthy life than those with renal failure and who are on dialysis (1). A kidney transplant is mostly referred to as “a gift of life” as it lets the person enjoy a normal healthy life again.
Living Donor Kidney Transplant
In a living donor kidney transplant, a kidney from a healthy donor is removed and placed into the patient with end stage renal disease. Only one kidney from a living healthy donor replaces the two failed kidneys, thus making living kidney donation an alternate to deceased donor transplant.
In 2018, an estimated 95,479 kidney transplants were performed worldwide, 36% of which came from living donors (2). Living kidney donation transplant has the following benefits over the deceased donor transplant:
•In deceased donor transplantation, a person’s name is placed on a waiting list and it may take years to find a suitable match. It becomes very difficult for a person with kidney failure to wait for years. In a living donor transplant, less time is spent on waiting which prevents further complications and deterioration of the recipient’s health.
•Avoidance of dialysis if not initiated yet.
•Better short and long term survival rates
•Deceased kidney transplant is an unscheduled, emergency procedure while in living kidney donation, the transplant is scheduled in advance by a doctor as soon as you find your donor.
The potential risks in considering kidney donation transplants are more or less the same in both types. They may include risks associated with the surgery, autoimmune organ rejection, and side effects of anti-rejection medications.
What to Expect?
While considering a kidney transplant, the major thing to consider is organ rejection and compatibility. The recipient must remain on immunosuppressant for the rest of their life to prevent their bodies from rejecting a newly placed kidney. In living kidney donation transplant, the donor is usually someone you know like a relative, friend, or coworker. Genetically related family members are more likely to be compatible living kidney donors.
Both the donor and the recipient in living kidney donation are thoroughly evaluated medically for compatibility. In general, the recipient’s blood and tissue type need to be compatible with the donor. However, if they don’t match, the transplant can still be successful with some medical treatments pre and post-transplant to suppress the immune system to avoid rejection. (3)Your transplant center may also offer you to participate in a paired donation program where your donor gives a kidney to someone else who is compatible. Then you receive a compatible kidney from that recipient's donor.
Once you've been matched with a living kidney donor, the kidney transplant procedure will be scheduled in advance. The kidney donation surgery (donor nephrectomy), and your transplant typically occur on the same day.
NKDO is a National Kidney Donation Organization in the United States that helps educate prospective living kidney donors to donate as safely and effectively as possible. We are devoted to helping end the kidney crisis in the country. If you are considering kidney donation, we are here to help you with all the aspect of living kidney donation. For more information, visit our website https://www.nkdo.org/.