An article from the Winter 2013 issue of MyGeorgetownMD
“Because You Asked” focuses on topics suggested by our readers. If you want to suggest a topic for future issues of this newsletter, please email them to email@example.com.
Why would someone become a living donor?
Kidney donors often feel that this is one of the most profound and life-changing acts they have ever performed.
More than 80,000 people live with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Their kidneys are no longer able to function properly. For these patients, the only options are hemodialysis or a kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, for many people, such as those with diabetes, dialysis is a less-than-ideal solution. These patients really need a new kidney. And today, more living donors are donating one of their kidneys. Sometimes the recipient is a loved one. In other cases, donors give to strangers so that one of their loved ones can benefit through a paired kidney exchange.
How do I know if I could be a donor?
Until recently, transplant centers required that donors and recipients have matching blood and tissue types. This match reduced the risk of organ rejection. We now have several desensitizing therapies which allow us to filter antibodies from the blood. The combination of medical innovations and paired kidney exchanges allows us to match more donors and recipients.
What steps do you take to ensure donor safety?
Patient safety is our number one concern.
Every potential donor undergoes a thorough screening by an interdisciplinary team of surgeons, physicians and health professionals. All interested donors receive a complete medical evaluation. We screen for conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.
We also take the personal costs of donation into account. It is important that donors have the social support, emotional resiliency and financial resources necessary.