Tuesdays with … February 16, 2015
Here’s your Tuesdays with…. update for those in need of a kidney transplant and their advocates. It is a short one this week. You could use the following information and email to family members, friends and post on your Facebook page and other social media outlets. You could also include additional information about your health, progress and other activities. If this is your first Tuesdays with… update, click here to learn how to use Tuesdays with… to expand on your Kidney Kampaign.
As I tell my story to people about my need to find a kidney donor, many people will ask me how do you become a kidney donor and what is the process.
In general, to be a living donor an individual must be physically fit, in good health, limited drug control for high blood pressure, free from diabetes, cancer free for at least 3 years, no kidney disease or heart disease.
Individuals considered for living donation need to be at least 18 years old. Most hospitals will say that those older than 65 years of age will not be considered. However, recently there have been many living donors older than 65 years of age who have successfully donated. Age isn’t the criteria, it’s your health that matters most.
I’ve been asked how important it is to have the same blood type. Blood type compatibility isn’t as important as it once was. Paired exchanges allow someone who is not blood type compatible to still help their intended recipient. To read more about paired exchanges click here.
Routine tests are always performed to determine not only the potential donor's level of physical and mental health but their compatibility with the patient awaiting a transplant. Results of these tests will determine if someone could donate.
Living donation occurs only when there is informed consent that is freely given. A potential donor should be fully educated on the subject, its risks and rewards, and when agreed to donate is without pressure from other people.
The following are just some of the tests a potential donor could expect to have during the evaluation process:
- Blood Tests – The potential donor undergoes a blood test to determine blood type compatibility with the recipient.
- Cross matching - Cross match test show if the recipient will reject the donors kidney. Either the cross match is positive or negative. You are looking for a negative test result.
- Urine Tests - In the case of a kidney donation, urine samples are sometimes collected for 24 hours to assess the donor's kidney function.
- X-Rays -A chest x-ray and an electrocardiogram (EKG) are performed to screen the donor for heart and lung disease.
- Psychiatric and/or psychological evaluation - The donor and the recipient may undergo a psychiatric and/or psychological evaluation.
- Gynecological examination - For all female donors, a complete gynecological examination is required. For females 32 years and older, a mammogram is also required.
- Final blood test - Usually another cross match is done within a few days of surgery.
There isn’t a national standard for testing kidney donors. Each hospital has their own criteria. It is not unusual for one hospital to reject a donor and another to accept them.
If you have questions about the process it would be my pleasure to discuss them with you.
Some people like to learn more about the process before they speak to the person in need. If this is how you feel, here’s the contact info for the donor coordinator at my transplant hospital. (Include their name, phone number and email address.)
Can you suggest another way to let others know about your need? Please share it with us by Clicking Here and we will include in in a future Tuesdays With... update.
If you know someone else in need of a kidney transplant or would like to pass this on to your doctor or a dialysis/transplant social worker please provide him or her with this link:
Until next week, we wish you the best in your journey.