Living Kidney Transplantation

About Kidney Living Donors & Transplantation

In response to the national shortage of organs available for transplantation, loved ones, relatives, friends and even individuals with no prior relationship are stepping forward as living donors.

A living donor can save and/or greatly improve the quality of life of a transplant candidate. However, you should only make a decision about donating an organ after you are fully informed of the possible risks and benefits.

There are several advantages to receiving a kidney from a living donor:

  • There is no need to wait for a cadaveric kidney to become available (most living transplants take place four to six months after the evaluation process begins).
  • The kidney usually begins to work immediately, even in the operating room. There is a very low occurrence of ATN (acute tubular nephrosis) in living transplants. A cadaveric kidney may not work right away for several reasons. This is known as ATN.
  • There are fewer episodes of rejection. As a result, living donated kidneys tend to last longer.
  • There is a need for less immunosuppressive drugs, which therefore minimizes the possible side effects.
  • Living related transplants can be scheduled. This allows both you and the donor to plan for absences from work, childcare, and other social concerns.

Our Adult Kidney Transplant Patient Information Handbook is available for download.   Please download our Living Kidney Transplantation handout for further information.

Manager

  • Kim Rallis, BS, MHA

Coordinators

  • Brandi LaFountain, RN
  • Sandra Ryan, RN, MSN
  • Kathy Ringenbach, RN, BSN, CCRN
  • Eileen Swartz, RN, BSN, CNN
  • Vicky Reilly, RN, BSN
  • Kelly Rotondo, DNP, MSN, RN-BC

Living Donor Coordinator

  • Vicky Reilly, RN, BS

Nurse Practitioners/Physician Assistants

  • Brooke Olenowski, PA-C

Financial Counselor

  • Amanda Dunmyer

Staff Assistants

  • Jessica Bertrand
  • Carol Hershey
  • Martha Kleinfelter
  • Monica Progin
  • Angela Shortt

Social Workers

  • Teresa Bruno, MSW, LSW
  • Velma Carter-Dryer, MSW, ACSW
  • Cynthia T. Royer, MSW, LSW

Pharmacist

  • Tracy M. Valania, Pharm. D.

Nutritionist

  • Taryn Millette, RN, LDN

Transplant Anesthesia

 

What is living Donation?

Living donation takes place when a living person donates an organ or part of an organ for transplantation to another person. Living donation is an alternative for individuals who are waiting on the transplant list for a deceased donor organ.

What are the advantages of living donation over non-living donation?

Kidney Transplants performed from living donors may have several advantages compared to transplants performed from deceased donors:

  • There is no need to wait for a cadaveric kidney to become available (most living transplants take place four to six months after the evaluation process begins).
  • The kidney usually begins to work immediately, even in the operating room. There is a very low occurrence of ATN (acute tubular nephrosis) in living transplants. A cadaveric kidney may not work right away for several reasons. This is known as ATN.
  • There are fewer episodes of rejection. As a result, living donated kidneys tend to last longer.
  • There is a need for less immunosuppressive drugs, which therefore minimizes the possible side effects.
  • Living related transplants can be scheduled. This allows both you and the donor to plan for absences from work, childcare, and other social concerns.

What are the qualifications for living donors?

In order to qualify as a living donor, an individual must be physically fit, in good general health, and free from high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, kidney disease and heart disease. Gender and race are not factors used in determining a successful match. As a living donor you must first undergo a blood test to determine if your blood type is compatible with the recipient. If you and the recipient have compatible blood types, you will then undergo an extensive physical work-up to make sure it is safe for you to donate.

The decision to become a living donor is a voluntary one, and you may change your mind at any time during the process. Your decision and reasons are kept confidential.

What are the costs related to living donation?

The pre-operative evaluation, surgery, hospital stay, and outpatient visits, as well as any medical treatment related to the donor surgery within the first three months will not cost you anything. The recipient’s insurance company will pay for all costs that are not covered by your insurance.

Your only direct costs related to kidney donation may be medications such as pain pills that you may need after returning home from the Medical Center. You will also need to pay for transportation and non-hospital lodging costs related to the evaluation and surgery. Keep in mind that you should plan your household expenses and finances ahead of time to account for time off from work during the evaluation, surgery, and full recovery. Be sure to check with your company’s Human Resources Department to learn what your options are under the Family Medical Leave Act, and for short-term disability and time off. This will be an important part of your decision-making process.

Is there risk with living donation?

As with any major surgery, there is always a risk of infection or bleeding. Rejection of the donated kidney is also possible.
Our counselors are available to speak with you before, during, and after transplantation about any feelings or concerns you may have.

Will donating a kidney prevent you from becoming pregnant or fathering a child?

No.

If I am cleared to be a donor, how is it decided when the transplant will take place?

This decision is made jointly by the transplant team, by you, and by the recipient. The transplant team, particularly the physicians involved directly in your recipient's care, will determine as accurately as possible the best time to do the transplant, based on the recipient's medical condition.

Once the transplant is scheduled, will it definitely happen?

A number of events could happen that may change the date of the transplant. For example, the recipient's condition might deteriorate to the point where he or she is too sick for a transplant. Or, the recipient or donor might develop an infection or some other condition that would need to be treated before the transplant could be done.

What are the long-term risks of donation?

All donors are screened and tested before donation to ensure that removing the organ will not affect their health. Living donation does not increase risk of kidney failure or future health complications. Most donors return to their daily routine following recovery, and live a long, happy, and healthy life.

For further information please visit the Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients (SRTR) website.

Data source: UNOS/Scientific Registry of Transplant