Living donors fill the gap
Brent Hannah is the administrative director of the Center for Transplant Services at The University of Tennessee Medical Center. "In my role," he said, "I have the privilege of seeing the impact this life-saving gift has on people in need."
And there are many people in need. More than 116,000 people are on the national transplant list, waiting for organ donation. Of that number, more than 90,000 are waiting for a kidney.
The Risks and Rewards of a Kidney Transplant
Andy was diagnosed in January 2018. In August 2018, Cantafio performed the donor procedure while Grandas performed the recipient operation. Cantafio said it was a successful surgery without any problems.
During the surgery, Jenny's kidney was removed and placed into Andy's body. With living transplant, because the kidney is without blood supply for such a short time, it usually begins functioning immediately. Kidneys from deceased donors can take days or even weeks, to get back to full capacity.
The Benefits of Living Donation
During a living-donor kidney transplant, physicians take a healthy kidney from a living person and put it in someone whose kidney doesn’t work properly. The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network says that about 6,400 living-organ donations occur each year in the United States. The majority of kidneys come from deceased donors, about 14,700 in 2018.
Living donation has several benefits:
- It shortens the waiting time for a kidney and lets someone else on the transplant list move up the list faster
- Kidneys from a living donor last longer than ones from a deceased donor (on average 18 years versus 13 years)
- The transplant recipient knows who they're getting the kidney from, usually a friend or family member
- The surgery takes place at a convenient time (rather than being scheduled on an emergency basis when a kidney from a deceased person becomes available)
- Kidneys from living donors start working right away, instead of hours or days later
- Less medication is needed after surgery
According to Oscar Grandas, MD (photo, left), from the Center for Transplant Services, living donation is considered a first-line option for patients on the kidney transplant waiting list. “Living donor recipients have an overall better long term outcome,” he said. “They return sooner to enjoying life with their families and loved ones.”
Living organ donation surgery is very safe, said Grandas, and The University of Tennessee Medical Center has an excellent record for successful donation and transplantation.
“We provide support and resources for patients who are working to find a living donor through the Living Donor Champion program here at the medical center,” said Grandas. “We honor the gift of life that the living donors provide for our recipients.”