Why is donor care essential?

Living kidney donation is a precious gift for someone who suffers from end-stage renal disease. If a person’s kidneys are damaged or diseased, they may be able to donate one of their two healthy organs. The remaining kidney will then take over the functions necessary for life. Kidney donation does not affect the function or survival of your remaining kidney. Many living donors also lead healthy lives. Instead, your remaining kidney may increase its ability to function by an average of 22.4%. This is called “compensatory growth”.

The researchers say that the risk of end-stage renal disease in kidney donors is similar to that of the general population and that even kidney donors may live longer than non-donors. A healthy person who donates an organ may be at risk and recover from unnecessary major surgery. The short and long-term health risks of surgery, organ function, and psychological difficulties following organ donation are all dangers associated with living organ donation. Pain, infection, hernia, bleeding, blood clots, wound complications and, in rare cases, death are all immediate risks associated with organ donation surgery. Long-term risks are rare, but note an increase in blood pressure in about 5% of patients after many years and a marginal decline in kidney function.

Choosing to donate a kidney is only the first step on a journey that could eventually lead to a kidney transplant. Anyone interested in donating must pass a series of tests and exams. These checks are designed to ensure that donors are healthy enough to donate a kidney and that their kidneys are currently working well. Safety and well-being are always a priority for medical teams. When it comes to their medical health, a thorough chart review and patient assessment is necessary. Also, ethical issues need to be taken into account as well as legal limitations so that this process goes smoothly and smoothly on both sides. The procedure of extracting the kidney from a living donor for transplantation is done through minimally invasive surgery. Laparoscopic nephrectomy involves less pain and a shorter recovery time than open procedures, which makes it more popular among patients who want quick relief from their medical issues.

The donor will experience tenderness, itching, and pain as their incision continues to heal. It is not recommended to lift heavy objects for about six weeks after surgery and also to avoid contact sports where the remaining kidney could be injured.

After surgery, recovery usually takes about two to four weeks. The transplant team may ask the donor for a follow-up within two weeks to examine the wound, then the donor is advised to follow up at six months, then annually.

During these visits, a blood pressure examination as well as simple tests like urine examination and creatinine estimation are carried out.

Periodic checkups are essential as there are rare long-term risk possibilities like increased blood pressure, proteinuria, and decreased kidney function with only one functioning kidney.

Kidney donors are allowed to return to their routine work within 4-6 weeks. Most people experience no complications from the surgery and it is generally recommended that women wait at least six months before becoming pregnant after donation.

No specific diet is needed after kidney donation, but the donor should maintain a healthy weight and general good health. They should be careful with prescribing medications as some can be bad for the kidneys.

The donor must remind the prescribing healthcare professional that he has donated a kidney. They should also consult their doctor before beginning to take over-the-counter supplements, vitamins, and medications.

For donors, in many ways the benefits of kidney donation are personal and cannot be known to anyone other than the person who gives or has given. The level of motivation of each donor can be very different. And every donor has a unique experience throughout the process of donating their organ, from the initial decision to be assessed as a potential donor until years after the donation.

(The author is a senior nephrologist and transplant physician.)

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