Kidney Transplant: An Urgent Necessity
by Dr. Anis Ansari
The optimal treatment of choice for kidney failure is organ transplant, not dialysis. Unfortunately, kidney failure rates exceed the availability of eligible donors.
This growing concern mandates that the patient remain on hemodialysis for long periods of time affecting their quality of life due to the time required to be hooked up to machines which can run anywhere from 3.5 to 4 hours a day and 3 days a week. Waiting time for kidney transplantfor people on dialysis can be more than 3 to 5 years in most instances. Because of these reasons, options for kidney transplants have become an urgent necessity.
According to the United States Renal Data System (USRDS) Annual 2017 and Kidney Project statistics 2018 Report, there are more than 650,000 patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) on dialysis. More than 100,000 of them are waiting for kidney transplant.. Even though the occurrence of kidney transplants in 2017 was at its highest in the last 5 years, the need for transplant continues to remain greater than ever.
Out of the total of 34,768 kidney transplant procedures performed in 2017, 82 percent (28,587) involved organs from deceased donors and 18 percent (6,181) were from living donor subjects. The average cost of the actual kidney transplant surgery is $32,000 and concurrently $25,000 annually for post-surgical care, maintenance and rejection prevention. Overall expenses to the patient and insurance providers for this option are far more cost effective than annual hemodialysis treatment of $89,000.
The patient utilizing the transplant option can expect to live much longer than the person required to undergo hemodialysis. The average mortality rate in dialysis patients is 20-25 percent meaning that one quarter of all patients will succumb to this disease every year. Only 35 percent of the total dialysis patients survive for more than 5 years. Patients fortunate enough to obtain organ transplants have a mortality rate of 3 percent after 5 years.
Organ recipient’s insurance providers bear the cost of diagnostic tests, evaluation, hospitalization and surgical procedures. Donors require a hospital stay of 2-3 days and can return to normal activity within 3-4 weeks after the procedure. The Donor’s life expectancy, renal function, and general health remain the same as the rest of the unaffected population. Living Related Transplant is defined as organ donation from parents and siblings whereas Living Unrelated Transplant may include a spouse or friends.
This is a call to action to create awareness of ESRD and campaign to educate our country to explain the process involved to become an organ donor. If you, or your family or friends have experienced this devastating disease, please join me in spreading the word about this urgent need for organ donation. All of us must work together to help those in need of urgent organ transplant.
For more details visit : https://www.usrds.org.
Anis Ansari, MD, FASN
Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Nephrology