Kidney Transplant Facts Doctors May Not Be Telling You

Stevie Wonder has announced that he is scheduled for a kidney transplant this fall. The 69-year-old singer said he will be “taking a break" after three shows to prepare for the surgery. 

Wonder did not provide further details about his condition. However, previous reports claimed he has been facing a serious health issue. 

"I'm going to be doing three shows then taking a break," he said as quoted by Associated Press during a concert in London. "I'm having surgery. I'm going to have a kidney transplant at the end of September this year."

Transplantation serves as the first option for patients with kidney disease. Experts say getting a new organ is the best treatment for the condition. 

However, there has been an ongoing scarcity of kidneys for transplantation in many countries. In the U.S., nearly 20 million people or more than 10 percent of American adults are estimated to have a kidney disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

If you are one of those people or there is someone close to you who might be a candidate for a kidney transplant, there are important facts you need to know prior to considering the procedure. 

Kidney Transplant, Donation, More

Perfect Match Is Now Always Necessary 

People commonly believe that the donor and recipient must have a matching kidney to continue the transplant. However, it is one of the biggest misconceptions in kidney donation, according to Karl Womer, an assistant professor of medicine and nephrology at Johns Hopkins Medicine

“Certainly the outcomes are improved when the donor and recipient are perfectly matched,” he said. However, a transplant can and must be done as soon as possible “with any degree of matching.”

Donor May Face Medical Complications

Womer said complications may occur after kidney donation. Previous studies showed that some people may experience high blood pressure after the surgery or eventually seek dialysis. 

“We hope to minimize this through our evaluation process,” he said. “But we know there will be some donors who, unfortunately, do lose their kidney function and require dialysis.” 

Donor May Also Become As Kidney Recipient

There are records of donors losing kidney function years after the surgery. Womer said that donors who may become transplant candidates will be part of a priority system to get a kidney.

Hypertension Has No Effect

High blood pressure greatly affects the body and contributes to kidney disease. But people, even those aged 50 or older, can still safely donate a kidney with hypertension, Womer said. 

But it is important that the donor keeps their blood pressure in control. 

Kidney Transplant Is Not For Everyone

Doctors consider many factors before considering a patient for a transplant. Patients with some medical conditions, like diabetes and heart failure, may have lower chances of getting a new kidney, according to Emilio Poggio, a nephrologist and expert in kidney transplantation. 

“Stay healthy and active,” he told Cleveland Clinic. “Manage your conditions that might complicate a transplant — like smoking — and remain compliant with your medical therapies.”

surgery A new study shows that the opioid epidemic could help provide more organs to patients and expand the donor pool. Pixabay