Organ donation from living donors.
The incidence of end-stage organ failure is growing exponentially; fueled by an aging population and the burden of metabolic diseases, the gap between the supply and demand of organs continues to widen. Unfortunately many patients die on the waiting list and many more are taken off the list because of worsening health. Despite extensive campaigns to increase donation from deceased donors, the figure has remained around 6000 donors per year. For organs such as the kidney and liver, living donation is an excellent alternative.
Living donor transplants result in outcomes that are substantially better than for deceased donors. In fact, the half life of a deceased donor kidney transplant is 8-10 years compared to the 16-20 years for a living donor. The patients live longer and have a far better quality of life compared with remaining on dialysis. The median survival on dialysis is 2 years, the 5 year survival is 40% and the 10 year survival is 10%. Kidney transplantation is not only life saving it is also cost saving. Chronic dialysis and kidney transplants are covered by Medicare; if the kidney transplant lasts more than a year, the taxpayers begin to save money.
Living donor liver transplants have been performed for more than two decades. It is the commonest form of liver transplantation in Asia because deceased donor programs do not exist. It has not gained momentum in the west because of well publicized living donor deaths and a robust alternative of deceased donor. Unfortunately, many die on the waiting list as we lack artificial liver replacement therapy.
|laparoscopic kidney donation results in an easier recovery for the living donor.|
|donation of the right lobe of the liver from a live donor.|
Learn more about living donation and transplantation:
• United Network for Organ Sharing, UNOS Patient Services Line: 888.894.6361
• National Living Donor Assitance Center (NLDAC); 888.870.5002
• National Kidney Foundation
• Organ donation