Kidney Transplant Donors Options to Consider

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

Kidney transplant – also known as renal transplantation – is a surgical procedure wherein a diseased kidney is removed and replaced with a healthy kidney from a donor. Usually, the donor is from a deceased patient or a healthy individual with two fully-functioning kidneys. There are various types of kidney donor and exchanges are also done to expand the donor pool of kidneys. The success of the surgery will depend on the patient’s acclimation of the new kidney.  In today’s post, we are listing down the different types of options for kidney donors:

Living-Donor Kidney

As the name suggests, an organ from a living donor means a healthy individual with two functioning kidneys has agreed to donate one of his kidneys to a patient who is either on dialysis or will need dialysis. Patients that require dialysis usually suffer from end-stage renal disease or ESRD. At this point, the diseased kidney is too damaged to filter the blood of toxins.

Unfortunately, while the number of patients that require dialysis has risen, the number of living donors has remained the same. Most physicians prefer kidneys from living donors because the success rate is very high and the risks are very low. Of course, to reduce risk, donor selection should be done carefully. A living donor needs to go through various tests to assess his health status. There are different types of living kidney donors:

Living Related Donors – The donor is related to the recipient of the organ such as parents, aunt, uncle, brother, sister, niece or nephew.

Living Unrelated Donors – The donor is not related to the recipient of the organ but has cultivated a relationship with the patient, such as a spouse, friend, co-worker, neighbor, and in-laws.

Anonymous Donors – These are donors who are not related or in a relationship with the patient at all. Usually, recipients of organs from anonymous donors have to be on a waiting list. The organ donation is typically made “out of the goodness of the heart” of the donor with no financial gain.

Anonymous donors could be a Good Samaritan who wishes to donate his organ to the general pool with no specific recipient in mind or an individual who wishes to donate his organ to a relative or a friend but cannot do so because of incompatible blood type or cross match. If a match has been found, an exchange between the two pairs will occur.

Deceased-Donor Kidney

The kidneys are donated by a dead donor. The organ from a deceased donor usually ends up on recipients on the waiting list of the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS).  The recipients are determined by UNOS by a point system calculated by the length of time spent on the waiting list or how well the donors match the patient. In some cases, pediatric patients are prioritized by UNOS.

Simultaneous Kidney and Pancreas Transplant

This is a dual procedure conducted when the patient is afflicted with Type I or Type II diabetes and mellitus progressed to kidney failure and have completed a transplant evaluation. The patients will be put on the deceased donor list and receive a kidney and pancreas from the same donor.

Patients who are acceptable as kidney donors can proceed with the living donor kidney transplant. When the patient recovers from the surgery, he is placed on the waiting list for pancreas transplant.


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