Donating a kidney can save lives
Dr Sudeep Singh Sachdev
Due to changing lifestyles and an increased prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure, the number of patients suffering from kidney disease has increased significantly over the past few years.
Most of these patients are on maintenance dialysis awaiting kidney transplant and one in three patients don’t have a compatible donor in their family. Increasing awareness about brain death and organ donation will go a long way in bridging the gap between requirement and availability.
In comparison to patients on dialysis, patients undergoing kidney transplant have a better and longer quality of life. Also, in the long run, getting a transplant is more economical than getting a dialysis on a regular basis.
The most frequently performed organ transplant in India is kidney transplant, and often means a second chance of life for the patient. We really need to build awareness so that more and more people come forward and help the patients who are in need.
Every year almost 100 persons per million succumb to kidney diseases. Annually in India, around 90,000 patients require undergoing renal transplant and only 5000 transplants are done.
With such a huge gap, more number of patients awaiting transplant die, adding to the burden of morbidity and mortality. Raising awareness among the public for organ donation (either cadaver or live donor) will assist in curbing down the margin of mortality.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 15-20 % of the India’s adult population and is one of the top 20 causes of death worldwide. It is a disease which impacts not only the patients but their entire family with devastating economic consequences. Girls and women, who make up 48% of the Indian population and are important contributors to society and their families. Women have unique risks for kidney diseases. Kidney diseases and issues related to access to care have a profound impact on both the current and next generations.
Kidney transplantation is also unequally spread, mostly due to social, cultural and psychological aspects. In India the national figures show that 70 -80% of the patients are males whereas 70- 80% of the donors are females. Imagine the situation where the awareness about kidney cancer is low and how many life is at risk.
This huge demand for renal transplantation is attributed to lack of awareness about the advancements made in this field, and people being sceptical about their personal well-being post donation. Advanced laparoscopic methods have proven to have minimal discomfort in the donor with excellent cosmetic results. With Robot-Assisted Renal Transplantation, a transplant surgery is comparatively easier to conduct. Therefore, it is important to understand that by donating one kidney, none of their physical abilities, quality of life or longevity will be affected.
Surgery always evokes a feeling of fear and distress in the mind of all patients. Pain and disfigurement are a major fear-factor. Nephrologists have always been in the forefront of imbibing newer technologies to help their patients. Renal transplantation procedures have become less invasive, less painful, safer and cosmetically better, has ensured better and quicker recovery.
In the last few years, there have been many advances in renal replacement and organ support. More complex cases are being performed with great precision and minimal blood loss. Now, the upcoming promise is firefly and image interposition technology where CT/MRI images are superimposed on surgical area to guide operating surgeon in real time.
(Dr Sudeep Singh Sachdev, Nephrologist, Narayana super specialty hospital, Gurugram)