A living donor transplant can eliminate a long wait for a donor organ, and it provides the best quality organ possible. It usually will work properly immediately after surgery and experience fewer episodes of rejection. Living donor transplantation can allow a recipient suffering from kidney failure to get a kidney transplant before starting dialysis, which usually results in improved outcomes for the recipient.
Living donor options include:
Becoming a living donor through MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute requires several steps: evaluation, surgery, and recovery.
A living donor transplant can eliminate a long wait for a transplant and is the best quality kidney. There are several types of transplant procedures:
- ABO or HLA-Compatible Kidney Transplantation is available when the donor or recipient have the same or compatible blood type, and the recipient’s immune system is compatible with the donor
- ABO or HLA Incompatible Kidney Transplant is performed when the donor or recipient have different or incompatible blood types or immune systems. Our experts can treat kidney kidney recipients before and after transplant to allow transplantation and decrease the risk of kidney rejection.
- Kidney Transplantation with Highly Sensitized Recipients is done with patients who may be considered highly sensitized recipients, patients who have had extended time on dialysis, or patients who have had a previous transplant or pregnancy.
- Kidney Paired Donation is a process that pairs multiple donors with matching recipients to help more people receive a life-saving living donor kidney.
MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute is a national leader in kidney exchange and the management of recipients and donors who have incompatible organs or immune-system sensitivity. Only a handful of transplant centers in America offer this to their patients.
Evaluation: Who Can be a Donor?
A donor can be a family member, good friend, spouse, in-law or even a stranger. Thanks to improved medications, a genetic link between the donor and recipient is no longer required.
Any healthy person can safely donate a kidney. The donor must be:
- At least 18 years old
- Normal kidney function
- Well informed about transplantation
- Able to give informed consent
If you have a potential living donor, he or she will undergo an evaluation and discuss the possibility of organ donation. Tests will be performed to ensure that the donor and recipient are compatible.
New minimally invasive approaches make it easier for donors to recover. Today’s living-kidney donors are usually out of the hospital in two days and back to work in two to four weeks. Learn more about transplant recovery.
How Will I Live With One kidney?
It is safe to live with one kidney. Your remaining kidney will grow slightly larger to compensate for the donated one. You will be able to resume all of your regular activities after surgery.
Additionally, you will be asked to have some blood tests done within the first month after surgery and at six months, one year and two years post donation. This helps us evaluate the long-term safety of living kidney donation, and helps us to educate other potential living donors.
What if I Am Not Compatible with My Intended Recipient for Kidney Paired Donation?
Kidney Paired Donation is a process where multiple donors are “paired” with matching recipients to help more people receive a life-saving living donor kidney. We can complete exchanges with many more pairs. Frequently, these multiple pair exchanges or “chains’ begin with a non-directed donor (someone who wishes to donate without a particular recipient in mind). Some chains will involve three or four pairs and may occur over several days or months.
In living donor liver transplantation, a piece of liver is removed from a living donor and transplanted into a recipient.
The liver's unique ability to regenerate itself combined with the expertise of our physicians and staff allow for more people with liver failure to obtain a liver transplant.
If you donate part of your liver through the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital's Liver Transplant Program, both the transplanted piece and the piece that remains will grow to pre-surgery size. The donor liver typically regenerates to its original size in 30 days, on average.
The number of patients waiting for organ transplants far exceed the number of organs donated, which has significantly increased awareness about living donor transplantation.
Evaluation: Who can be a Donor?
To meet living donor criteria, an individual must:
- Be physically fit and in good general health
- Have a compatible blood type with the recipient
- Be free from uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, liver disease and heart disease
Spouses, friends, and individuals unrelated to the recipient can become living donors.
Benefits of Living Liver Donation
Living donor liver transplantation offers immediate organ availability. Patients who receive transplants from living donors can better prepare for their surgery, knowing well in advance when the transplant will take place.
Living donors will need to have a series of tests to ensure they meet the criteria for living donation. Blood tests, family history and medical tests are preformed to ensure it is safe for the individual to donate.