Kidney Transplant: The Advantages of Living Donor Kidney Transplant
Featured Physician: Dr. Prabakhar Baliga – Surgery
Announcer: Kidney Failure is becoming more and more common, especially here in South Carolina.
Dr. Prabakhar Baliga: Probably the most common reason right now is diabetes. When people have diabetes for a prolonged period of time, it causes scarring of the kidneys. The second most common reason is probably hypertension.
Announcer: High blood pressure is what caused Jonita Brown’s kidneys to fail. She knew that she could go on dialysis to save her life but having a kidney transplant would give her a better quality of life.
Dr. Prabakhar Baliga: A kidney transplant allows you to have a functional life. It can allow you to go back to work. There are no restrictions with it long-term, so there is a tremendous improvement in terms of dietary options, travel, you name it. There are significant advantages in quality of life with a kidney transplant.
Announcer: Receiving a kidney through a living donor offers significant advantages for patients.
Dr. Prabakhar Baliga: To me, the living donor kidney transplant represents, you know, the best quality kidney you can get.
Announcer: Experts say living kidney donation is more of an option than people realize, even between people that are not genetically related.
Jonita Brown: I came home that day and I asked my husband, “If I need a kidney, would you give me one?” He said, “Sure, because I would love for you to live just as long as I live.”
Dr. Prabakhar Baliga: Today, with the improvement in anti-rejection medications, genetic matching is no longer as important. We mainly go by blood type and, subsequently, you know, like I said earlier, it is the quality of the kidney that matters. So now we have the ability to transplant kidneys from anyone with equal success, whether it is a family member or a complete stranger, for example, between husband and wife, college roommates, coworkers, neighbors, and church members.
Announcer: In recent years, improvements in surgery have also made the procedure much easier for the donor. Now it can be done laparoscopically in most cases with small incisions and a much shorter recovery time.
Jonita Brown: I think it is a very neat thing, that you can help someone out to that extent. My husband actually saved my life and I cannot thank him enough because I know without a shadow of a doubt, it would have been hard for me to have gotten a kidney, especially from a living donor.
Announcer: Whether you consider being a living donor or wish to be an organ donor after your death, it is one of the most generous and miraculous things you can do.
Dr. Prabakhar Baliga: The number of patients waiting for a kidney transplant has increased dramatically. As of a month ago, there were more than 76,000 patients waiting for a kidney on the national waiting list. What that has done is increase the waiting time for patients.
Jonita Brown: That is, to me, one of the most beautiful things anyone can do for another person, regardless of whether it is a family member or a stranger, whoever, because you can live with one kidney.
Jonita Brown’s Husband: I think it is very important because, you see, if you can save a life then save a life.
Announcer: The kidney and pancreas transplant program was recently rated one of the top programs in the country. To find out more about kidney transplant or to make an appointment, call MUSC Health at (843) 792-1414.