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Giving The Gift Of Life
By becoming a live donor, you shorten the time a recipient spends on the kidney transplant waiting list . You also increase the likelihood of successful transplantation because survival rates are higher when the kidney transplant comes from a live donor. Additionally, you help another wait-listed patient because your donation vacates the recipients spot on the list for the next person when a deceased donors kidney becomes available.
You Dont Have To Be Related To Someone To Donate A Kidney To Them
In fact, one in four living organ donors is not biologically related to the recipient . Spouses, in-laws, close friends, church members, and even members of the same community can all be living donors.
It’s true that family members have a higher chance of being a good match. But living donor transplants are more successful compared to kidneys from deceased donors because these kidneys come from living donors.
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What Is A Kidney Transplant
A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure in which a healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor is placed into a person whose kidneys are no longer functional.
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs in our body that are located on each side of the spine just below the rib cage. The main function of kidneys is to filter blood and remove the waste products, minerals and other fluid from the blood by producing urine.
When kidney stops functioning properly and loses their filtering ability, it leads to accumulation of waste and harmful levels of fluid in the body. This can lead to increased blood pressure and result in kidney failure, also known as end-stage kidney disease. Kidney failure is considered when the kidneys have lost about 90% of their normal functions.
There are two treatment methods for end-stage kidney disease, namely kidney transplant and dialysis. In dialysis, patients have waste removed from their bloodstream through a machine. Patients on dialysis need to go into a center for treatment 2-3 times a week. Dialysis does not treat or compensate for all the functions of the kidneys while a transplant can.
The important functions of the kidney include:
What Can I Expect Emotionally After Donating A Kidney
After donation, living donors often report a wide range of mixed emotions, from joy and relief to anxiety to depression. The process of getting through the evaluation and surgery can be so time-consuming that donors do not always have time to process everything they are feeling. It is normal for these emotions to come to the forefront after the donation and transplant take place.
Living donors generally rate their experience as positive. Different studies indicate that between 80-97% of donors say that in retrospect, they would have still have made the decision to donate.
However, concerns about the recipient’s outcome can contribute to feelings of anxiety, and may donors report a feeling of “let down” afterwards. Feelings of depression among living donors are not uncommon, even when both donor and recipient are doing well.
While extensive data on these issues is lacking, some studies have reported the following psychological outcomes:
- Less than 1% regretted the decision
- 3 to 10% reported depression
- 10% reported “family conflicts”
- 16% concerned about negative financial consequences of donation
- 3 to 15% concerned about a negative impact on their health
Living donors who are struggling with these issues are encouraged to:
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Limit Your Exposure To Germs
Don’t have a large number of houseguests during the first 6-8 weeks after surgery. Ask family members and friends who may have colds or infections to stay away. Keep preschool children at arm’s length, especially if they are in daycare where other children may be sick or infected. Avoid eating from salad bars as they can harbor bacteria.
Recovery After Kidney Donation
After kidney donation surgery, you wake up in the recovery area, likely surprised that three to four hours have passed and it’s all over. It doesn’t take long to realize that your body’s been through a major event. You’re groggy and possibly have pain. You may be nauseous from the anesthesia. Nurses monitor your vital signs, as well as your pee output, thanks to a catheter.
Recovery after kidney donation Phase 1: Out of surgery.
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What Is A Good Match For A Kidney Transplant And How Does The National Kidney Registry Find One
Finding the best match for a kidney transplant is important because the better the match, the more likely it is that the kidney will last longer. The National Kidney Registry uses the latest generation in DNA sequencing technology to assess the match between patients and donors. Traditionally, kidney transplant matches were measured by an HLA match score of zero to six. This score was based on antigens. Behind antigens are eplets, which are essential components of HLA epitopes recognized by antibodies. Eplet mismatch analysis has been proven to be a more precise measure of a donor-recipient match compared to antigen matching, and can potentially lower the probability of rejection and graft failure, as well as enable the recipient to safely reduce the immune-suppression medications they must take after the transplant is complete.
Is Insurance Coverage Obtainable After Donation
Your health insurance should not be affected by donation. The Affordable Care Act has made it illegal for health insurance companies to refuse to cover you or charge you more because you have a pre-existing condition.
If you have difficulty getting life insurance or facing higher premiums for it after surgery, reach out to the transplant center. Transplant centers can reach out to the insurance to inform them of existing data that reports that kidney donors are not at increased risk of death.
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What Is The Recovery Period And When Can The Donor Return To Normal Activities
The length of stay in the hospital will vary depending on the individual donor’s rate of recovery and the type of procedure performed although the usual stay is 4 to 6 days. Since the rate of recovery varies greatly among individuals, be sure to ask the transplant center for their estimate of your particular recovery time.
After leaving the hospital, the donor will typically feel tenderness, itching and some pain as the incision continues to heal. Generally, heavy lifting is not recommended for about six weeks following surgery. It is also recommended that donors avoid contact sports where the remaining kidney could be injured. It is important for the donor to speak with the transplant staff about the best ways to return as quickly as possible to being physically fit.
Activity While You Recover
Hand over the keysYou’ll be a passenger for any outings in the carno driving for two weeks, or longer, if you’re still taking narcotic pain medication. When you’re wearing a seat belt, protect your incision with a small pillow under the lap portion of the seat belt.
Easy on the absRolling over and getting out of bed aren’t going to be much fun initially. You soon realize all the ways you use your abdominal muscles because doing so, well, it hurts. But the pain gets better every day as your incision heals, the same way it does when you’re recovering from putting your abs through a serious core workout. The area around your incision also may be numb or tingly for a while.
Stick to walkingWalking is the one type of exercise you can dobut don’t overdo. If you had a regular exercise routineincluding yoga, pilates, running, biking and pretty much anything elsebefore surgery, you’ll be taking a six-week break. And no lifting anything over 10 pounds. That means snuggling on the couch with young kids instead of holding them.
Eat wellYour diet? No restrictions, so eat uphealthy food and drink, of courseto help your body heal. That means plenty of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and water.
Recovery after surgery to donate a kidney is different for everyone. Emily and Jim talk about what they faced during recovery after donating a kidney.
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What Is The Maximum Body Mass Index Allowed For A Paired Kidney Donation Donor
Potential kidney donors with a Body Mass Index over 35 are usually rejected as kidney donors. Those with a BMI of 30-35 may be encouraged to lose weight before surgery. If you are interested in becoming a kidney donor but are concerned that you will not be accepted because of your weight, we encourage you to apply through the National Kidney Registry home page to determine your eligibility. The online donor screening process quickly lets potential donors determine whether they are medically qualified to donate and identifies which centers will accept them as donor candidates.
Recovery At Home And Follow Up After Living Donor Kidney Transplantation
Patients who have had surgery to donate a kidney are given painkillers immediately after the operation and when they are discharged from hospital, to use during their recovery period. Some people may also be prescribed antibiotics for a short period if they need them. However, living donors do not need any long-term medication as a result of kidney donation.
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Your Blood And Tissue Type Must Be Compatible With Your Recipients
Besides being healthy, living donors must have compatible blood and tissue types with the kidney recipient. The transplant team will perform tests to see if your blood and tissues are compatible with the kidney recipient. If they arent, our living donor program can also educate you about the paired donation program.
At First Wallee Had Very Little Appetite And Slight Discomfort Around The Wound He Spent Five
I was in a certain amount of shock and things that were slightly uncomfortable was that I found it difficult to eat, because obviously everything had happened in the tummy region. So my digestion wasnt, you know, I wasnt really having much of an appetite. And there was a certain amount of coming to terms with what had happened. I just remember having, sorry its hard to explain, an almost kind of a deep experience about the whole thing, just something deep because I agreed to do something, and I trusted in something, so something else took place, which has remained with me ever since actually.I was ready to go home. I was ready to rest and have food at my own time, not when the food came around in the hospital. And I had better food actually in hospital, thats the reality. I could say, Well I feel like a little bit of fish or something, potatoes. I could actually say that because there is a menu in hospital but, you know, theyre cooking on such a big level.I spent five weeks, something Im going to have. I think it might be slightly wrong, something like five weeks in my friends house. Then I went to Denmark for a week. So somehow about two months, youre still recovering for a few months after that. But two months, allow time. But its not like, its a case of really being ready, youre up walking in a couple of weeks, shuffling around.
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Why Do Donors Need Health Insurance If The Recipient’s Insurance Pays For Everything
All donors are required to have health insurance in the event that any medical issues/diagnoses arise during the course of their evaluation to be a donor.
In this instance, the recipient’s insurance does not cover the donor’s medical expenses, so the potential donor must have health insurance in place to ensure that they will be covered in such a circumstance.
Kidney donation may also be considered a pre-existing condition. Although current law largely prohibits the denial of insurance based on pre-existing conditions, some insurance companies are still allowed to deny coverage for this reason. This is another reason why obtaining health insurance prior to donation is important.
How Do I Get A Kidney Transplant
If you find a donor willing to donate on your behalf, that donor may be able to donate directly to you, but it is often more beneficial for you and the donor to enter the Voucher Program. By entering this program, your donor can donate when it is convenient for them and you can get the best match possible. The Voucher Program also protects the donor because all voucher donors are covered by Donor Shield, which includes lost wage reimbursement, travel and lodging reimbursement, coverage for uncovered complications, donation life insurance, donation disability insurance, and legal support.
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Paul Had Some Pain At First And Felt A Bit Constipated He Recovered Quite Quickly He Went Into
I came home by train, train and car from the station and then I was at home, pottering around. I spent a fair amount of time lying down or in bed. Obviously it was a bit sore at times and I needed some reasonable strength painkillers, but it wasnt a big deal.I got a bit constipated, which I think is always, and I know from what people tell me, thats always something that is a bit of a nuisance and always gets people down a bit. And it was just quite interesting to have the experience myself. So I look on it as a kind of learning experience and it didnt last that long. But, for a few days, I think it was probably the symptom in a way that troubled me most. Even more than the pain.But I actually got better quite rapidly. I went out to lunch, a half hours drive away, the next weekend on the Saturday. I can remember I didnt have much appetite still at that stage, but I was fit enough to travel. And in fact, though I probably shouldnt have done, I actually went and did a clinical session about a week later, after the operation. And I think, probably in retrospect, I wasnt entirely well. I dont think I did anything dangerous. Im sure I was fine. But anyway, so shortly after that I started driving again. So I was driving within a fortnight and I have no doubt that I was quite safe to do so. It was quite comfortable.
First Days Following Surgery
The first initial days following surgery will be spent in the hospital. The patient can expect to stay for at least five to seven days for the healthcare team to monitor patient progress and response to the transplant. These first few days will be the most restricted. Ambulating, dressing and simple activities of daily living will may be limited and the patient will need some assistance. A longer hospital stay may be required if complications arise.
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Recovery Time For Kidney Removal
Time of recovery after the surgery and for how long you will stay in the hospital depends on the type of nephrectomy done and your general health. The urinary catheter stays inside for a short duration during the recovery period.
You may suffer from numbness and discomfort near the area of incision. Pain killers are given as required after the surgery. Although coughing and deep breathing may cause pain as the incision is near the diaphragm, yet, breathing exercises are recommended to prevent the occurrence of pneumonia.
You may remain in hospital for one to seven days depending on type of surgery. You can perform light activities after surgery as soon as you feel like doing them. However, heavy lifting and strenuous activities should not be done for up to six weeks after surgery.
Recovery time for kidney removal is about three to six weeks. Initially, you may feel low in energy and it may require up to three to six months for you to feel fully energetic again.
Your physician will provide you detailed instructions regarding your post-surgical activities, diet and restrictions.
No Life Expectancy Changes
Donating a kidney does not affect a persons life expectancy. On the contrary, studies show that people who donate a kidney outlive the average population. Twenty years after donating, 85 percent of kidney donors were still alive, while the expected survival rate was 66 percent. This may be because only healthy people are approved to become donors, or perhaps donors take additional health precautions after donating a kidney.
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How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Kidney Transplant
The length of recovery after a kidney transplant depends on many factors such as:
- Type of transplant procedure
- Acceptance of the new kidney by the body
- Overall health
Each patient may have a different speed of recovery. After the procedure, the patient is shifted to a recovery area where the nurses and doctors observe for signs of complications or organ rejection. The patient is usually discharged from the hospital after a few days or a week and only after the surgeon and transplant team have checked their progress, strength and overall health.
The new kidney will start to make urine like the older ones when they were healthy. Mostly, this occurs immediately but in some cases, it can take a few days. If this happens, patients are temporarily put on dialysis until the new kidney starts to function normally.
The kidney transplant doctor will discuss precautions, such as no lifting heavy objects weighing more than 10 pounds or doing exercise until the wound has healed. It usually takes about six weeks after the surgery.
The recovery may take some time, but the ultimate results after the transplant are highly satisfactory. The transplant will allow you to have a normal active life, independence from the dialysis and restrictions with diet associated with it.
The anti-rejection medications may have some side effects and you must contact your transplant team immediately in case you experience any of the following:
- Thinning of bone or bone damage
- High blood pressure