Living Donor Kidney Transplantation

Living donor kidney transplantation occurs when a healthy individual donates one of his or her kidneys to a person with end stage renal disease, thus sharing the gift of life. Currently, there are more than 100,000 people waiting on the deceased donor list in the United States, but only approximately 10,000 deceased donor kidney transplants are performed each year. Many transplant candidates die or become too sick before a deceased donor organ becomes available. Living donor kidney transplantation allows individuals in need to by-pass the lengthy waiting list and get on to a longer, healthier life much sooner.

Being a Recipient

There are no additional risks when receiving a living donated kidney, but there are many benefits, including:

  • Improved graft survival, with an average transplant lasting 18 to 20 years vs. 8 to 10 years from a deceased donor
  • Shorter time on dialysis before transplantation. Patients are able to get off dialysis sooner, or avoid it all together
  • Living donor transplant recipients experience fewer complications after transplant. For example, transplant patients who receive a living donor kidney usually see immediate function of the transplanted organ
  • Better quality of life
  • Living donation allows the procedure to be scheduled at a time that works best for the donor and recipient. Planning the date of transplant surgery in advance also allows optimal attention to medical issues before surgery

Being a Donor

Being a living donor allows you to give the ultimate gift of life to someone in need. Through the act of donation, a healthy person can help a person with end stage renal failure return to a healthier, more functional life. Potential donors are encouraged to talk with prior donors about their full range of experiences with living donation.

If you are interested in being a living donor, contact the Transplant Center at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital at 314-577-8867. You will be asked to complete a short health history, and the nurse coordinator will guide you through the next steps.

Identify a Living Donor Kidney Champion

We encourage you to identify a “Kidney Champion,” someone who can help teach others about your condition and your transplant options.

Anyone can be your kidney champion. A kidney champion is often someone who wanted to donate a kidney but was ruled-out because of their own health issues, or even children who are too young to donate themselves but want to help a loved one with kidney failure. Some examples of ways your kidney champion can help include sending a letter or email to tell people about your condition, hosting a gathering or creating a Facebook page or website. Many find it helpful to access our educational material and tools we have available at the SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital Transplant Center.

Whether you are donating a kidney or receiving one, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow your physician’s instructions for care.

We know this can seem like an overwhelming process, but the Transplant Center at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital will be there to help you every step of the way. Contact us today at (314) 577-8867 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about what options are available to you.

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