Duke University Hospital, a world-class medical facility already known for an outstanding center in the treatment of Autoimmune diseases
, adds to their impressive medical record with the first in North Carolina history live kidney donor multiple patient transplant. Although these types of transplants have been done before, mastering this technique offers doctors and patients at Duke University Hospital a much-welcomed alternative to conventional kidney dialysis treatments, which are needed when a patient develops end stage kidney failure, or loses 85 to 90 percent of their total kidney function. Some groups at high risk for developing kidney disease include African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans.
Some causes for kidney disease are the result of direct and indirect complications of other health conditions such as high blood pressure which has been stated as the "Which comes first - the chicken or the egg?" phenomena concerning kidney disease. Research suggests kidney disease causes high blood pressure and high blood pressure causes kidney disease
as well as Diabetes, which can cause damage to the blood vessels of the kidneys, and uncontrolled Diabetes can accelerate the process. In addition, kidney infections caused by infections of the bladder or surgery, over use of pain medication (specifically acetaminophen and ibuprofen) are some other causes. However, in some cases various of kidney diseases are hereditary.
The natural function of the kidney
is to remove waste, extra water, and extra salt. Kidneys keep the body in balance by maintaining safe levels of such chemicals as potassium and bicarbonate in the blood. For many patients dialysis is an expensive, potentially time-consuming process with reported unpleasant side effects. However, it is only a stopgap for any one of the 93,000 people on the UNOS
waiting list hoping for their chance to receive a deceased donor organ. With 40 percent of all transplant recipients experiencing donor organ rejection, it is an uphill fight for patients risking it all for chance.
According to Rosalyn Carter, one of the dedicated Donor Coordinators in the kidney transplant program at Duke, "Donors must undergo a rigorous health screening, evaluating not only their ability to become a donor but their mental preparedness as well." As with any surgery, there are always risks and donors must be made aware and understand these risks.
Rosalyn Carter went on to say she believes "in the near future, organ donor programs will become a part of a more cohesive network allowing hospitals to better coordinate transplants for their patients."
Duke University Hospital, with a team of dedicated doctors, nurses, donor coordinators, innovative medical breakthroughs, and most importantly live donors continue to change the lives of people waiting for a second chance.