Thursday, 10 March 2011

Respect Recycle & Reuse - a Clarion Call to Organ Donors (Part 2)

This is another one of my vain attempts to convince my family  of readers of the benefits of Organ Donation

Kidney donation – Donor and receiver perspective
by Dr Parul R Sheth
Your kidneys remove excess fluid and waste from your blood. Kidney failure occurs when your kidneys are unable to filter because of which dangerous levels of fluid and waste accumulates in your body. Kidney failure can be managed with diet, medication and treatment of the underlying cause.  If your kidneys are still unable to function, and you have no other life-threatening medical conditions, a kidney transplant could be a better option than dialysis.

For living-donor transplantation, only one kidney is needed to replace two failed kidneys.  A kidney is harvested from a healthy donor and transplanted in place of the diseased one. The recipient who receives a kidney from a living donor with low risk of high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes has a better long-term quality of life.
Donor’s perspective
Dr Vatsala Trivedi, president, National Deceased Donor Transplantation Network (NDTN) at a WHO meet in Geneva said, “Till year 2008 India was performing on an average100 kidney transplants from deceased donors (DD). Between October 2008 and December 2009, Tamil Nadu alone contributed more than 150 kidney transplants from the DD program.”
Dr Bharat Shah says, “A deceased donor is usually the one who is ‘brain dead’. Over the last 15 years there has been a gradual progress in deceased donor kidney transplant. However, the progress is too slow and a large majority of kidney transplants performed in our country are with living donors”. Also, the deceased organ donation is hampered by socio-cultural problems and an increased demand. The use of live kidney donation is therefore promoted.
Dr M Sahay and Dr N Anuradha from the Department of Nephrology, Osmania General Hospital, Hyderabad, reveal that live kidney donation carries the risk of an unnecessary surgery in a normal individual for the benefit of the recipient and long term effects of kidney removal have not been studied in Indian donors so far.
Kidney donations in India are legal; you can accept a kidney from any live donor provided he/she is your relative and there is no money involved. In case you have no one to donate a kidney in your family, you can register the name of the person who needs the kidney with a NGO or hospital. If the hospital comes to know of any death of a patient whose blood group and tissue type matches with the recipient, the hospital personnel can help you with the cadaver or deceased donor kidney transplant.
If you are a donor, your kidney tissues should match the recipient’s kidney. Therefore, tissue matching is done using DNA tissue-typing methods. Kidney donation is a major surgical procedure. With time, your remaining kidney will enlarge as it takes on additional blood flow and filtration of wastes.
As a live kidney donor you can lead an active normal life with one kidney. After surgery, you may require rest for the first two weeks. Walking is a good exercise during this time. On recovery you can drive, exercise, play sports and get back to your normal routine.  Research studies show that there is not much of a long-term risk of kidney donation provided you have been screened well before becoming a donor.  
The donor experiences a psychological ‘high’ after contributing to the health of the recipient. Yet some may experience depression following the euphoria of saving a life. The problem may worsen if the recipient rejects the kidney. Counseling is a must before and after donation.
Recipient’s outlook
Transplant surgery has risks including bleeding and infection. But the most important concern for a recipient is that of organ rejection. Following transplant, medications, anti-rejection drugs and life-long immunosuppressive therapy are a part of the treatment. The medications may cause side-effects such as fluid retention, swelling, weight gain and mood swings.
Monitoring your kidney function, blood pressure etc is necessary for the next 3-4 weeks following surgery. A healthy lifestyle with no alcohol, tobacco or drugs and being proactive about diet and exercise helps maintain a healthy kidney. Plenty of information is available about donation and transplant procedures with support groups, NGOs and online.   
A few organisations involved with kidney transplants
  • Kidney  A website designed to wipe out kidney disease through internet based technology.
  • Living Kidney Donation: Online community for living donors, potential donors, their families, and medical professionals.
  • MOHAN Foundation: "Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network" is an NGO, a voluntary, non-profit organisation based in Chennai. It also has branches in Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad.
  • Narmada Kidney Foundation (NKF), India: A voluntary organisation of concerned individuals, corporate bodies and professionals who have pledged their time and resources toward filling a void in the country's health services.

Today is World Kidney Day.. Have a heart!

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