Am I Eligible To Become A Kidney Donor
You need to undergo a comprehensive evaluation if you decide to donate one of your kidneys to a family member such as your spouse, children, siblings, and parents or to a friend or altruistically to a stranger. You are NOT eligible to become a kidney donor if the doctors assessment suggests that kidney donation is not safe for you.
Organs Can Come From Any Part Of Canada
In the past, these people would need to wait for well-matched kidney from within their own province now they will be eligible to get donor organs from any part of the country, if the organ is a good match.
That has required adopting a standardized laboratory testing method for tissue matching across the country as well as computer systems that can share information across provinces.
“Until this program we were really not shipping kidneys anywhere because we couldn’t identify the need,” says Dr. Peter Nickerson, who is the medical director for Transplant Manitoba and also serves as medical adviser for donation and transplantation for Canadian Blood Services.
“So now we’re basically saying instead of an individual in Manitoba who only has access to the Manitoba donor pool, they now have access to the entire Canadian donor pool. Because they’re so difficult to get transplanted.”
The Highly Sensitized Patients program was rolled out Friday at a press conference in Winnipeg. But while this was the public launch, the system has been gradually coming online for some time. The first provinces joined in October 2013 and all provinces were enrolled by November 2014.
To date, 111 hard-to-match people have received kidney transplants through the program. While the program currently only operates for kidneys, there are plans to expand it to other solid organ transplants in future.
Living Donor Kidney Transplantation
Living donor kidney transplants are the best option for many patients for several reasons.
- Better long-term results
- No need to wait on the transplant waiting list for a kidney from a deceased donor
- Surgery can be planned at a time convenient for both the donor and recipient
- Lower risks of complications or rejection, and better early function of the transplanted kidney
Any healthy person can donate a kidney. When a living person donates a kidney the remaining kidney will enlarge slightly as it takes over the work of two kidneys. Donors do not need medication or special diets once they recover from surgery. As with any major operation, there is a chance of complications, but kidney donors have the same life expectancy, general health, and kidney function as most other people. The kidney loss does not interfere with a woman’s ability to have children.
Potential Barriers to Living Donation
- Age < 18 years unless an emancipated minor
- Uncontrollable hypertension
- Bilateral or recurrent nephrolithiasis
- Chronic Kidney Disease stage 3 or less
- Proteinuria > 300 mg/d excluding postural proteinuria
- HIV infection
- Shorter recovery time in the hospital
- Quicker return to normal activities
- Very low complication rate
The operation takes 2-3 hours. Recovery time in the hospital is typically 1-3 days. Donors often are able to return to work as soon as 2-3 weeks after the procedure.
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All Provinces And Territories Now Part Of National Program
Winnipeg, MB Canadian Blood Services, in collaboration with provincial and territorial Governments and organ donation and transplantation programs officially launched the Highly Sensitized Patient program today. Canadians whose immune systems are more likely to reject a transplanted kidney and are difficult to find a match, now have a better chance through this new national organ sharing program. The HSP program uses high quality laboratories to allocate kidneys with an accuracy and efficiency that is unparalleled.
The launch of the HSP program allows us to provide improved access to lifesaving transplants to Canadians waiting for kidney transplantation, said Leah Hollins, Canadian Blood Services board chair. When Canadian Blood Services was mandated to develop national services for organ and tissue donation and transplantation in 2008, Canada was one of the only developed nations without a national, coordinated system. We have come a long way and I would like to thank all provincial and territorial governments for the commitment they have demonstrated during the development of the HSP program.
The launch of the HSP program is an important milestone in improving access to transplants for patients who are difficult to match with a donor kidney due to their high levels of sensitizing antibodies. These patients, known as highly sensitized, have developed antibodies that would attack a transplanted kidney unless the organ is very precisely matched.
What Determines Compatibility Between A Donor And A Recipient
Three major factors determine whether a donor and a recipient are compatible: blood type, tissue type, and cross-matching:
Blood Type: A donor and recipient must have either the same or compatible blood types. There are 4 basic blood types: A, B, AB, and O. Type O, the universal donor, is compatible with all other types for donationbut can receive only Type O blood. Types A and B are compatible with two others, and Type AB can accept only Type AB.
Although a donor and recipient must have either the same or compatible blood types, fortunately, donors with incompatible blood types can, if they wish, participate in a kidney exchange program. There are two types of kidney exhanges: paired donation and chain donation.
Paired Donation: In paired donation, 2 sets of incompatible donor/recipient couples cross-exchange kidneys so that each recipient receives a compatible kidney. In other words, the two pairs “swap” kidneys, as illustrated below.
Chain Donation: Sometimes, multiple pairs of donors exchange kidneys in a chain donation. While most domino donations involve only a few pairs, in 2011, the world’s longest chain to that date consisted of 60 people: 30 donors and 30 recipients. Thirty lives were saved all because one man wanted to donate a kidney.
You can read an excellent news article about domino donation here.
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Things You May Be Able To Control
You may be able to slow the progression of chronic kidney disease and prevent or delay kidney failure by controlling things that increase your risk of kidney damage, such as:
- High blood pressure, which gradually damages the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys.
- Diabetes. A persistently high blood sugar level can damage blood vessels in the kidneys. Over time, kidney damage can progress, and the kidneys may stop working altogether.
- Eating protein and fats. Eating a diet low in protein and fat may reduce your risk for kidney disease.
- Certain medicines. Avoid long-term use of medicines that can damage the kidneys, such as pain relievers called NSAIDs and certain antibiotics.
What Are The 2 Types Of Kidney Donation
- Donation from a living kidney donora living donation is when a healthy kidney is surgically removed from a living kidney donor, leaving 1 healthy kidney intact. A person only needs 1 functioning kidney to live a healthy life. Kidney donation is the most common type of living organ donation.
- Donation from a deceased donora deceased donation is when a healthy kidney comes from an organ donor who is recently deceased.
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Finding A Kidney Donor
Once your doctor has determined that youre a good candidate for a kidney transplant, youll need to be matched with a kidney donor who is compatible with you in tissue and blood type. There are several ways to go about finding a kidney donor.
What Happens If Kidney Disease Gets Worse
When kidney function falls below a certain point, it is called kidney failure. Kidney failure affects your whole body. It can cause serious heart, bone, and brain problems and make you feel very ill. Untreated kidney failure can be life-threatening.
When you have kidney failure, you will probably have two choices: start dialysis or get a new kidney . Both of these treatments have risks and benefits. Talk with your doctor to decide which would be best for you.
- Dialysis is a process that filters your blood when your kidneys no longer can. It is not a cure, but it can help you feel better and live longer.
- Kidney transplant may be the best choice if you are otherwise healthy. With a new kidney, you will feel much better and will be able to live a more normal life. But you may have to wait for a kidney that is a good match for your blood and tissue type. And you will have to take medicine for the rest of your life to keep your body from rejecting the new kidney.
Making treatment decisions when you are very ill is hard. It is normal to be worried and afraid. Discuss your concerns with your loved ones and your doctor. It may help to visit a dialysis centre or transplant centre and talk to others who have made these choices.
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The Need For Living Kidney Donors:
There are about 90,000 people waiting for kidney transplants in the United States, says Dr. Gibney. There are about 14,000 kidney transplants a year. Each year, more people are in need of organs and get added to that list.
So thats one of the things that makes living donation so important is that theres a fairly limited supply of organs. If there are friends or family members who can give, that can save lives and really extend peoples lives by years and years.
If you would like to share Robert’s story via your publication, then please send a direct message below.
Why Do Some Patients Wait Longer Than Others For A Transplant
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Live Donor To Deceased Donor Waiting List Exchange
This program allows living donors to help their friend or loved one receive a kidney, even though they’re incompatible.
Here’s how it works: The donor gives a kidney to another patient who has a compatible blood type and is at or near the top of the waiting list to receive a deceased donor kidney. In exchange, the donor’s relative or friend takes the recipient’s place on the deceased donor waiting list.
For example, if the donor’s kidney went to the patient in the fourth spot on the deceased donor waiting list, the donor’s friend or relative would move to the fourth spot on the list for his or her blood group, and would receive kidney offers once at the top of the list.
Video Testimonial Part I:
Laureen Gerzack is an example of the highly specialized, complicated cases typically seen and treated at Mount Sinai. Over the years, Laureen’s kidneys had been badly damaged by diabetes. It came to a point where complications caused by diabetes prevented Laureen from having life-saving dialysis. She needed a kidney transplant or she would die.
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Special Programs For Deceased Donor Transplantation
Expanded Criteria Donor Program
Although the most commonly transplanted deceased donor kidneys come from previously healthy donors between the ages of 18 and 60, kidneys from other deceased donors have been successfully transplanted. The goal of this program is to use organs from less traditional donors more effectively so that more patients can receive kidney transplants.
Kidney Transplants from Less Traditional Deceased Donor Category
- Age 60 or older
- Between the ages of 50-59 with at least two of the following conditions:
Patients who are most likely to benefit from a kidney through this program are dialysis patients who are older and have a greater risk of problems, including death, while waiting for a transplant. Accepting a kidney from an expanded criteria donor may shorten the waiting period for a transplant. Patients who are considered for this type of transplant also remain on the waiting list for standard kidney offers.
Hepatitis C Donor Program
About 8% of patients on the deceased donor waiting list have the Hepatitis C virus. By accepting a kidney from a deceased donor who also had Hepatitis C, these patients could shorten the waiting time for a deceased donor kidney.
How Long Does The Process Take
The donation process depends on how many tests are required of the donor and how quickly he or she is able to complete them. The average donor work up may take six months or more for completion and may depend on test results, which may indicate additional evaluation is required. A transplant date cannot be set until the donor has completed the entire work up and has been evaluated by the surgeon. The transplant center does its best to accommodate the needs of the donor and recipient, but appointment times may be limited.
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What Are The Common Matching Factors
Blood type and body size factor into a match.
Other factors include:
- how bad the patients medical condition is
- the distance between the donor’s and the patients hospital
- the patient’s waiting time and
- if the patient is available. For example:
- If they cant contact the patient.
- If the patient has an infection or other reason that they cant do the transplant.
The most important factor is the organ itself. Some organs can survive outside the body longer.
Theres a different policy for each organ. Read about how the system decides who gets which organs.
Blood Tests For Transplant
What blood tests will I need to find out if a patient and a potential donor are a kidney match?What is Blood typing ?
- Donors with blood type A can donate to recipients with blood types A and AB
- Donors with blood type B can donate to recipients with blood types B and AB
- Donors with blood type AB can donate to recipients with blood type AB only
- Donors with blood type O can donate to recipients with blood types A, B, AB and O
- Recipients with blood type O can receive a kidney from blood type O only
- Recipients with blood type A can receive a kidney from blood types A and O
- Recipients with blood type B can receive a kidney from blood types B and O
- Recipients with blood type AB can receive a kidney from blood types A, B, AB and O
What is Tissue Typing?What is Percent Reactive Antibody ?What is a Serum Crossmatch?
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Living Kidney Donor Transplant
Kidneys for transplant may come from either a living or deceased donor. When a living donor’s kidney is removed, the remaining kidney enlarges slightly and performs the same amount of work as the previous pair.
As with any major operation, there is a chance of complications. However, kidney donors have the same life expectancy, general health and kidney function as non-donors. Donating a kidney doesn’t affect a woman’s ability to have children. Any healthy person can safely donate a kidney.
Having a living donor benefits patients in several ways:
How Long Do Kidney Transplants Last
There are a number of factors which affect how long a transplanted kidney lasts.
These include whether or not the kidney came from a living donor, how well the kidney is matched in terms of blood group and tissue type, and the age and overall health of the person receiving the donation.
If you have a kidney transplant that fails, you can usually be put on the waiting list for another transplant. You may need dialysis in the meantime.
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Why Choose Uw Health
The UW Health Transplant team has been serving living kidney donors for more than 50 years. We are nationally respected for our surgical expertise and outstanding patient outcomes. Our team focuses on thorough patient education and creating personalized donation plans to support your needs.
We are the largest and most active living kidney donation program that works with the National Kidney Registry. We are a Center of Excellence for most insurance networks and a certified living kidney donor center for adults and children. U.S. News & World Report ranks University Hospital as Wisconsins top hospital.